Case For Life On Mars Withstands Criticism, Gains Scientific Support NASA

Researchers who stunned the world in 1996 with the announcement that a Martian meteorite contained evidence of ancient life on the red planet have released new evidence that strengthens their original hypothesis and allays many of the criticisms leveled at the first paper. In this latest paper, published in the scientific journal Precambrian Research Feb. 17, two additional Martian meteorites were examined – Nakhla and Shergotty, 1.3 billion and 165 to 175 million years old, respectively. Both younger meteorites showed the same evidence of microfossils and other remnants of early life as the original meteorite, the 4.5-billion-year-old ALH84001. “If the features observed in the two younger Martian meteorites are confirmed to have a biogenic origin, life may have existed on Mars from 3.9 billion years ago to as recently as 165 to 175 million years ago,” said Everett K. Gibson, a geochemist at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and the senior author on the paper.