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Derek asked the Naked Scientists: I remember the widespread media coverage regarding the Martian meteorite ALH84001, back in 1996. Researchers were suggesting that certain features in there resembled micro-fossils - i.e. evidence for life on Mars. For some time it was possible to follow the debate back and forth, but it is a long time ago now and it has all gone quiet. Was there ever a conclusion to this debate?Thanks,Derek McComiskey What do you think?
This meteorite received much attention after an electron microscope revealed structures that were considered to be the fossilized remains of bacteria-like lifeforms. As of 2005, scientific consensus was that the microfossils were not indicative of Martian life, but of contamination by earthly biofilms. However, in 2009, new analyses ruled out earthly and non-biological origins, presenting strong evidence of life on Mars. ALH 84001 is as old as the basaltic and intermediate shergottite groups — i.e., 4.1 billion years old.