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Proceedings Paper

Indigenous microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites
Author(s): Richard B. Hoover; Gregory Jerman; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul P. Sipiera
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Paper Abstract

Indigenous embedded microbial filaments, bacterial cells and other microfossils were found in the Orgueil, Ivuna (CI1), Murchison, and Bells (CM2) carbonaceous meteorites. Biominerals, biofilms, framboids, magnetite platelets, and curious elemental iron ovoids covered with minute fibrils and carbon sheaths were also found. The S-4100 Hitachi Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (EDAX) were used for in situ investigations of freshly fractured interior meteorite surfaces. EDAX x-ray spectra shows the microfossils bear signatures of the meteorite matrix and possess elemental ratios indicating they are indigenous and not recent microbial contaminants. Many of the well-preserved biogenic remains in the meteorites are encased within carbon-rich, sometimes electron transparent, sheaths. Their size, morphology and ultra microstructure are comparable to microfossils known from the phosphorites of Khubsughul, Mongolia and to some of the living cyanobacteria and other sulfur- and sulfate-reducing bacteria known from the halophilic Microcoleus mats of Sivash Lagoon, Crimea and from Mono Lake in California.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 2004
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 5555, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII, (1 November 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.566491
Show Author Affiliations
Richard B. Hoover, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
National Space Science and Technology Ctr. (United States)
Gregory Jerman, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
National Space Science and Technology Ctr. (United States)
Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Paleontological Institute (Russia)
Paul P. Sipiera, Planetary Studies Foundation (United States)
William Rainey Harper College (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5555:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Y. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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