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Thread: Discovery of bacteria fossiles on a meteorite

  1. #1 Discovery of bacteria fossiles on a meteorite 
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    I don't understand why it went almost unoticed. I found this paper quite interesting.

    http://journalofcosmology.com/Life100.html

    After reading the article, it seems:
    1/ These meteorites are really showing remaining of bio-something
    2/ The micro-structures seems to be bacteria
    3/ These micro-structures are showing similar chemical patterns as bacteria fossiles on earth (N deprivation especially)
    Now, there are 3 possibilities
    1/ This is truly an extraterrestrial purely indigenous form of life
    2/ This is a contamination from some bacteria present as spores in space which manage to survive
    3/ The meteorite could be of earth origin. But it seems the isotops ratios don't agree with it.


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    This finding was taken down fairly lethally over here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...ver_bacter.php


    VERDICT: This work is garbage.


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  4. #3  
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    NASA also rejected the claim.
    http://realityviews.blogspot.com/201...lien-life.html

    This tells us alot about the author of this silliness and the so-called Journal of Cosmology. Suggest folks open the link - it's pretty much a garbage journal.
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  5. #4  
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    it merely highlights the desire by some people to know that we're not alone in the universe
    let's face it : if there's truly extraterrestrial life preserved in meteorites, what is the chance that we would recognise it as such ? all we have is a template of what terrestrial looks like
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  6. #5  
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    I'm still amazed that scientists can determine the origin of meteorites with such certainty. Like the 2005 meteorite that supposedly originated from Mars and has (possible) signs of life:

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/marslife.html
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    I'm still amazed that scientists can determine the origin of meteorites with such certainty.
    There is never as much certainty in science as it appears
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky
    There is never as much certainty in science as it appears
    Are you sure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Puma Man
    I'm still amazed that scientists can determine the origin of meteorites with such certainty. Like the 2005 meteorite that supposedly originated from Mars and has (possible) signs of life
    Certain meteorites with distinctive mineralogies had been identified as having a common origin. Analysis of gases trapped within crytals revealed an unusual ratio of isotopes of the inert gases. The early robotic missions to Mars analysed the atmosphere and the same ratios were found there. It would be stretching coincidence to an unsustainable degree to think they came from somewhere else.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Certain meteorites with distinctive mineralogies had been identified as having a common origin. Analysis of gases trapped within crytals revealed an unusual ratio of isotopes of the inert gases. The early robotic missions to Mars analysed the atmosphere and the same ratios were found there. It would be stretching coincidence to an unsustainable degree to think they came from somewhere else.
    Can they prove that those meteorites weren't collision-blasted off the Earth a billion years ago and just now returning?
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  10. #9  
    Iuvenis ducis Darkhorse's Avatar
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    No that can not be proved, however that would require that Earth had the same fingerprint of isotopes a billion years ago that Mars has today. The chances of that being a valid hypothesis is negligible.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    Can they prove that those meteorites weren't collision-blasted off the Earth a billion years ago and just now returning?
    I will go further than Darkhorse and say that our knowledge of ancient atmospheric conditions on the Earth is sufficiently good to preclude that as a possibility. So you have the following options
    a) The meteorites are 'ordinary' meteorites that went through a bizzare, perhaps unique sequence of events that happened to give them a distinctive mineralogy and an isotope signature seen only on Mars.
    b) The meteorites are rocks blasted of from Earth or another planet some time ago that then went through a bizzare sequence of events, for which no known mechanism exists, that happened to give them a distinctive isotope signature seen only on Mars.
    c) They come from Mars. Their mineralogy is consistent with that. Their isotope ratios insist upon it. The simulations of impact events assures us their ejection is certain. Further simulations confirm the likelihood of many the ejecta eventually arriving on the Earth.

    Which of these options would you choose?
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    Is it unanimous (by scientists) that this meteorite originated from Mars? There are no other competing theories of origination?

    No that can not be proved, however that would require that Earth had the same fingerprint of isotopes a billion years ago that Mars has today. The chances of that being a valid hypothesis is negligible.
    Are scientists sure that the Mars of 1,000 million years ago had the same "fingerprint" as the Mars of today?

    Which of these options would you choose?
    I would be amazed (again!) if those are the only three options.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    a distinctive mineralogy and an isotope signature seen only on Mars.
    This "distinctive signature" is seen on Mars today -- and when was this meteorite collision-blasted from Mars? 20 years ago? Or 1,000 million years ago? Are you sure that Mars always had the same "distinctive signature"?

    I'm a healthy skeptic, specially about something as leading edge as this research, and you seem to support this explanation without any doubts. I thank you for your thoughts but I think I need another opinion. Surely there is a competing scientific theory out there as to the origin of this meteorite.
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  13. #12  
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    I'd suggest a Google Search for "Hoagland" to find what you are apparently looking for.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne
    I'd suggest a Google Search for "Hoagland" to find what you are apparently looking for.
    I ask for other competing scientific theories for the Mars life-containing meteor and you point me to a conspiracy theorist. So, according to you, if a person has doubts about one scientific theory or conclusion and asks a few questions then that person is branded a conspiracy nut? Instead, why don't you answer some or all of the questions I've posed?
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  15. #14  
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    @PumaMan: You are discounting the Mars theory based on the possibility that Mars atmosphere was different in the past than it is today. You however are not discounting the incredibly remote chance that the Earth's atmosphere was once the same as Mars. The chance of two planets having the same atmosphere at anytime is extremely remote, much more remote than Mars' atmosphere not changing over the required time frame.

    Based on what we know about the Earth's past, the meteorite could not have originated from Earth. That only leaves extra-terrestrial origins. Of the planets we have data on, Mars is the clear winner.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkhorse
    @PumaMan: You are discounting the Mars theory based on the possibility that Mars atmosphere was different in the past than it is today. You however are not discounting the incredibly remote chance that the Earth's atmosphere was once the same as Mars. The chance of two planets having the same atmosphere at anytime is extremely remote, much more remote than Mars' atmosphere not changing over the required time frame.

    Based on what we know about the Earth's past, the meteorite could not have originated from Earth. That only leaves extra-terrestrial origins. Of the planets we have data on, Mars is the clear winner.
    Thank you for the response. I've been doing a little research on the net so I may come around soon.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    Is it unanimous (by scientists) that this meteorite originated from Mars? There are no other competing theories of origination?
    I am not a planetologist. I am an interested amateur. However, I know of no other extant hypotheses to account for the observations. Based upon the extent of my reading in this area I would be surprised if there were any.

    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    Are scientists sure that the Mars of 1,000 million years ago had the same "fingerprint" as the Mars of today?
    You seem to overly focus on things like 'proof' and 'certainty'. In science things are not proven. Rather we build up a weight of evidence in favour of a particular view over any alternative that it would be unreasonable to reject that view. At any time evidence could emerge that would disprove the view, but we will never be able to truly prove it.

    On that basis the only way the Martian fingerprint could differ significantly from today's is if we have wholly misunderstood the mechanisms for the formation of the solar system, the accretion of Mars, its subsequent development, atmospheric evolution, etc. If we throw that out then 90% or more of what we currently understand about terrestrial planets is hokum. I find that an improbable scenario and much less likely than the notion that some meteorites come from Mars.


    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    I'm a healthy skeptic, specially about something as leading edge as this research, and you seem to support this explanation without any doubts.
    The subject under discussion, as I understand it, is the origin of certain meteorites claimed to be Martian. This is not cutting edge research. This is old hat. A third or more of the original researchers are probably dead and buried by now. I accept the origin of these meteorites as being Martian because:
    a) The observations are wholly consistent with such an origin.
    b) No viable alternative explanation has been offered.
    c) I have studied the research and satisfied myself that in toto it is sound.

    As to the specific origin of ALH84001, again I am comfortable with its origin as being Martian. Note that the identifier for the meteorite shows it to have been collected in Allen Hills in 1984. The 001 does not mean it was the first find of that season. That numeral is applied at the end of the collection phase. It was likely assigned the 001 since it was distinctive and therefore of particular interest.

    In 1994 it was specifically identified as an achondrite of the SNC group. These are meteorites sharing specific mineralogy and oxygen isotope ratios. It was the inert gas composition from certain of these meteorites, compared with the Viking atmospheric analysis, that enabled the source of these to be tied down to Mars.

    As to the claim that it harbours evidence of microbial life, I remain unconvinced. Not impossible, but there are alternative explanations for all the observations.

    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    I would be amazed (again!) if those are the only three options.
    Then please, give me a viable alternative. As per some later posts, the reason you get offered a nut like Hoagaland is that there are no other viable explanations. If you can find one, more power to you. I would find that intriguing and educational. However, you are going to have to come up with it yourself. No such explanation seems to exist in the peer reviewed literature.

    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    This "distinctive signature" is seen on Mars today -- and when was this meteorite collision-blasted from Mars? 20 years ago? Or 1,000 million years ago? Are you sure that Mars always had the same "distinctive signature"?
    The meteorite was blasted from the surface of Mars about 10 million years ago. Exposure to cosmic rays produces distinctive changes that allow accurate measure of time spent in space. The SNC meteroties, again from memory, are about 1.3 billion years old, so that is the time for which we have an atmospheric signature. As noted above there is a very high degree of confidence in the significance of that signature.

    To clarify, the ALH rock formed about 1.3 billion years ago and was blasted into space about 10 million years ago.
    Surely there is a competing scientific theory out there as to the origin of this meteorite.
    This is an argument from incredulity and as such is valueless. Just because you find difficulty in accepting that a) meteorites could come from Mars, and/or b) we can demonstrate that certain meteorites came from Mars, has absolutely no effect on the well established observation that some meteorites in general and this meteorite in particular, came from Mars.

    I am pleased to see that you are slowly 'coming round'. When you get caught up with the mainstream (in this case the only stream) you might want to revisit the Viking lander experiments which, contrary to the official position, do show evidence for current life on our neighbour.

    Edits: two clarifications added in blue.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    As per some later posts, the reason you get offered a nut like Hoagaland is that there are no other viable explanations.
    I don't see how that follows and thus I find that comment/suggestion (offered up by another poster) insulting.

    As for your other points, I thank you for the time spent. I still need to do the necessary reading.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    As per some later posts, the reason you get offered a nut like Hoagaland is that there are no other viable explanations.
    I don't see how that follows and thus I find that comment/suggestion (offered up by another poster) insulting.
    Until your last two posts the Executive Summary of your argument appears to be "I just cannot believe that meteorites can come here from Mars and even if they could I don't see how we could tell." As I may have pointed out before that is an Argument from Incredulity, a common logical fallacy, and utterly without value.

    Multiple posters have explained to you that there are no viable alternative explantions. You have persisted, saying, "But there must be!" Meteor Wayne offered you the Hoagaland link, I suspect, for two reasons:
    1) To demonstrate that such was the extent of alternative explanations available.
    2) Because he had got fed up with your intransigent commitment to ignore the facts.

    I'm glad to see you've now overcome the latter limitation.

    As far as insults go - and I only bring this up because you seem to find Meteor Wayne's offering insulting - consider this.
    you seem to support this explanation without any doubts.
    The implication in this passage and others in your replies to me is that I was just following the standard explanation and was reciting it as dogma. Now that is insulting. Fortunately, until you've demonstrated you are more than a lightweight that isn't going to concern me. :wink:
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  20. #19  
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    Ophiolite, I take back the "Thank You" I offered to you for your time spent in explanation.

    You have made the implication that you yourself are some sort of "heavyweight". What hubris! Ignoring how learned you may be, I see you as someone who cannot freely give an explanation--you seem compelled to saturate it with condescension and arrogance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    The implication in this passage and others in your replies to me is that I was just following the standard explanation and was reciting it as dogma. Now that is insulting.
    Unlike you and your friend, my comment was not meant as an insult--but if you want to take it that way, that is alright with me. :wink:
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  21. #20  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    can we tone down the personal remarks somewhat ? thank you
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan
    You have made the implication that you yourself are some sort of "heavyweight". What hubris!
    The use of the :wink: symbol is genrally taken to mean that the foregoing remarks were not serious, at worst they were a good natured jibe. I'm sorry if my sense of humour differs from yours.

    I see you as someone who cannot freely give an explanation
    TANSTAAFL.
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  23. #22  
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    It is hilarious really to find people of the more scientific nature than the common citizen behave so..human, to put it one way

    Anyway, if only looking at the facts stated in peoples posts in this thread, it is pretty safe to say that the consensus is that it is more probable than not that some meteorites found on Earth have indeed originated from Mars (I agree). It is also more plausible than not also, imho, that a collision with Mars by a comet or asteroid ejected a piece of Mars only to have it collide with Earth than Earth being hit by a comet or asteroid and having a piece of it sent out to space only to return 10 Ma later, since it would require a larger body to hit Earth than Mars for this to occur and because all other evidence points to the meteorite originating from Mars. If something had struck Earth, we should've found some evidence for it. Even if we haven't found the crater itself we should've found some evidence in the geologic record as I assume it must be pretty big to cause something like that (to actually throw a piece of rock out beyond the atmosphere and the immediate reaches of our planets gravity!) A physicist is probably are safer bet to come up with a calculation on how big a body hitting the Earth must've been, not an Earth Science undergraduate (me).


    The reason why there hasn't been any other theories posted leads me to conclude that there simply aren't any, that can describe and explain the phenomenon as accurate as have been proposed. But again, something that makes science interesting is that we may be wrong, and simply lack some greater understanding of the processes involved.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by NijuuDuosaba
    It is hilarious really to find people of the more scientific nature than the common citizen behave so..human, to put it one way .
    There really is no reason that those with a scientific inclination, or scientific training should be any less susceptible to being frustrated by idiocy than a media studies graduate.. :-D
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    There really is no reason that those with a scientific inclination, or scientific training should be any less susceptible to being frustrated by idiocy than a media studies graduate..
    Yes, you are correct. I guess we "those with a scientific inclination, or scientific training" sometimes assume, falsely, we are better than the common man and that can unfortunately lead to our 'truths' being ignored, etc.
    Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.

    - Albert Einstein

    Earth Science undergrad at your service
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