Mon March 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Signs Of Life On A Meteorite? Maybe

While we would love to write a headline saying that proof has been found that life does (or has) existed somewhere else in the universe, we're going to go with the advice of astrophysicist Adam Frank over at the 13.7 blog.

Adam says new work by NASA's Dr. Richard Hoover, who believes that he's documented evidence of fossilized bacteria in meteorites, is "super interesting but not conclusive one way or another. Not proof but not disprovable either."

Hoover's also isn't the first work about possible fossils in meteorites, Adam notes. That claim hasn't been definitively proven.

So, as 13.7 cautions, stay tuned. And perhaps listen to what NPR's Joe Palca has to report about Hoover's work later today on All Things Considered.

Or, if you've got some scientific chops, you might also want to check out Hoover's paper in The Journal of Cosmology. It is, as you might imagine, quite technical. To cut to the chase, here is part of Hoover's conclusion:

"Complex filaments found embedded in the CI1 carbonaceous meteorites represent the remains of indigenous microfossils of cyanobacteria and other prokaryotes associated with modern and fossil prokaryotic mats."

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