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Proceedings Paper

Life on Mars: new evidence from martian meteorites
Author(s): David S. McKay; Kathy L. Thomas-Keprta; Simon J. Clemett; Everett K. Gibson; Lauren Spencer; Susan J. Wentworth
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Paper Abstract

New data on Martian meteorite 84001 as well as new experimental studies show that thermal or shock decomposition of carbonate, the leading alternative non-biologic explanation for the unusual nanophase magnetite found in this meteorite, cannot explain the chemistry of the actual martian magnetites. This leaves the biogenic explanation as the only remaining viable hypothesis for the origin of these unique magnetites. Additional data from two other martian meteorites show a suite of biomorphs which are nearly identical between meteorites recovered from two widely different terrestrial environments (Egyptian Nile bottomlands and Antarctic ice sheets). This similarity argues against terrestrial processes as the cause of these biomorphs and supports an origin on Mars for these features.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 September 2009
PDF: 20 pages
Proc. SPIE 7441, Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII, 744102 (10 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.832317
Show Author Affiliations
David S. McKay, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Kathy L. Thomas-Keprta, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Simon J. Clemett, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Everett K. Gibson, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Lauren Spencer, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Susan J. Wentworth, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7441:
Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII
Kurt D. Retherford; Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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