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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 7

Life on Mars? - Jury is still out

From: Nick Balaskas <nikolaos@YorkU.CA>
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 1997 12:34:24 -0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
Fwd Date: Fri, 07 Nov 1997 22:38:09 -0500
Subject: Life on Mars? - Jury is still out

Greetings,

Below is an article from Spaceviews, November 1997, about the
"Mars" meteorite recovered in Antarctica which caused much
excitement a little over a year ago when NASA presented it as
the strongest evidence it had of E.T. life.

I am still hoping that this was a NASA trial balloon to see
what the public reaction would be to the discovery of E.T.
life and if it was a favourable reaction, then NASA would share
some much more convincing evidence of E.T. life with us, which
we all know they have, don't we? ;)

As for what I think, I still feel there is a stronger case that
these microfossils found in the "Mars" meteorite, if they are
real, could be distant relatives of Earth organisms that made
their way to Mars much earlier in time in a similar way the
"Mars" meteorite got to Earth.

Nikolaos Balaskas



SpaceViews -- November 1997 by the Boston National Space Society

<snip>

Strengthening the Case for Life on Mars

	Dr. Everett Gibson of the Johnson Space Center, one of
the members of the team which found evidence of past, primitive
life in Martian meteorite ALH 84001 last year, presented an update
on his team's research in this field at the meeting.

	Gibson spent much of his talk presenting objections other
researchers had raised to his team's work, and his rebuttals to
those objections.  A key point of contention has been claims that
the carbonate globules seen in the meteorite formed at high
temperatures, which would rule out a biological origin for them.
Gibson referred to research on the isotope ratios in the globules
as well as the magnetism of the globules, each of which point to
origin temperatures no higher than 100 degrees Celsius.  Gibson
said work by a UCLA group which estimated a temperature of origin
as high as 250 C, too high for life, was in fact subjected to a
calibration error which has since brought
their temperature estimates to 100-150 C.

	Gibson also rebutted criticism that the microfossil-like
structures seen in the meteorite were too small to truly be
fossils.  While much smaller than typical microfossils on Earth,
they are comparable in size to microfossils seen in sections of
Columbia River basalt that were not discovered until recent years.

	Gibson also addressed claims that the polyaromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs) seen in the Martian meteorite were actually
contamination from Antarctic ice and not indigenous to Mars.
Gibson pointed out that PAHs were not seen in other, younger
Martian meteorites also recovered from Antarctica, thus, the PAHs
came from Mars, and were created by biological processes.

	Gibson also pointed out some intriguing new features seen
in the meteorites in recent months.  In addition to the segmented
microfossils first shown last year, they have seen evidence of
microscopic appendages and also unusually nesting microfossils,
both of which have yet to be explained.  They've also seen
evidence of fossilized "biofilm", a layer of organic material
secreted by bacteria on Earth.

	While Gibson said they have not found the "smoking gun"
for life on Mars, they have evidence that they feel is "60 to 70
percent in our favor," he said.  He pointed out eight criteria for
proving life existed on Mars: geologic context, age, microfossils,
colonies and communities, chemical disequilibrium, biological
isotope patterns, organic "biomarkers", and indigenous features.
Gibson said they have evidence in all eight areas to prove life
once existed on Mars.

	"We feel stronger today than when we wrote that [first]
paper," Gibson said.  Additional papers are due out in coming
months in research journals like Science as well as an article for
laypersons in Scientific American.

<snip>




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