Study Contradicts Nasa's Theory of Ancient Organisms on Mars

Article excerpt

A new study contradicts but doesn't disprove NASA scientists' claims that a meteorite holds microscopic traces of long-ago life on Mars.

In a paper being published today, three researchers from the University of Hawaii present electron microscope images of the now-famous meteorite, known as ALH84001.

According to their interpretation of those pictures, the alleged traces of life were formed not by ancient organisms, but by the huge shock that sent the rock hurling into space millions of years ago. The problem is that Edward Scott and colleagues Akira Yamaguchi and Alexander Krotat of Hawaii's Institute of Geophysics and Planetology didn't have in their sample the carbonate globs touted by the NASA scientists as remnants of ancient microbes. The Hawaiian group argues that chemical similarities between the globs and the tiny grains they examined show that they were formed by the same process. But many of their colleagues don't accept that argument. …