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Proceedings Paper

Microfossils, biominerals, and chemical biomarkers in meteorites
Author(s): Richard B. Hoover; Alexei Yu. Rozanov
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Paper Abstract

The discovery of biominerals, chemical biomarkers and evidence of microfossils in the Mars meteorite (ALH84001) stimulated research into biomarkers, microbial extremophiles and provided impetus to the newly emerging fields of Astrobiology and Bacterial Paleontology. The debate following the ALH84001 results has highlighted the importance of developing methodologies for recognition of mineral and elemental bioindicators, chemical biomarkers and microfossils in terrestrial rocks and meteorites prior to sample return missions to comets, asteroids, and Mars. Comparative studies of living and fossil micro-organisms and biomarkers are vital to developing expertise needed to recognize indigenous biosignatures and recent contaminants. This paper reviews elemental and mineral bioindicators, chemical biomarkers and keropgen in terrestrial rocks and meteorites. Electron Microscopy images of hyperthermophilic nanobacteria, sulfur and sulfate reducing bacteria, and mineralized microfossils and kerogen found in-situ in carbonaceous meteorite rock matrix are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 January 2003
PDF: 18 pages
Proc. SPIE 4939, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VI, (30 January 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.501868
Show Author Affiliations
Richard B. Hoover, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Paleontological Institute (Russia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4939:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VI

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