The Mars meteorite has no signs of life, as NASA finds that it contains only water and rocks

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Other scientists were skeptical of the NASA findings, and since then, researchers have been chipping away at the premise, studying the 4lb rock in more detail.

The rock would have been formed during Mars’ wet and early past, with two impacts occurring near the rock that heated the planet around its surface, the team found.

A Mars meteorite that fell to Earth 13,000 years ago has ‘no signs of life’, dashing the hopes of NASA scientists, who found it only contains water and rock 

A third impact bounced the rock off the Red Planet, sending it into space millions of years ago, eventually landing on the Earth, and discovered in Antarctica in 1984. 

Story Highlights

  • The 4 billion-year-old piece of Mars rock caused a splash on Earth in 1996 when a NASA-led team announced it contained organic compounds that appeared to have been left by living creatures – possible evidence of ancient, primitive Martian life. 

  • Experts from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, examined tiny samples of the meteorite, finding that the carbon-rich compounds are actually the result of salty, briny water flowing over the rock for a prolonged period of time.

The 4 billion-year-old piece of Mars rock caused a splash on Earth in 1996 when a NASA-led team announced it contained organic compounds that appeared to have been left by living creatures – possible evidence of ancient, primitive Martian life 

ALLAN HILLS 84001: A TINY PIECE OF MARS FOUND ON EARTH

Allan Hills 84001 is a tiny fragment of Mars, that arrived on Earth a few thousand years ago. It would have been bounced off the surface of the Red Planet by an asteroid impact, and sent hurtling through space for millions of years.

It was found in the Allan Hills in Antarctica on December 27, 1984, by a team of American meteorite hunters from the ANSMET project.  The small fragment of rock weighs about 4lb and contains tiny globs of carbon within its structure. 

In 1996, a group of scientists from NASA claimed to have found evidence of microscopic fossils of bacteria in the meteorite, suggesting that these organisms also originated on Mars.  These claims made headlines worldwide, but were controversial among the scientific community.

For this new study a team analysed the minerals in the meteorite using new techniques, discovering they were associated with serpentine-like minerals. This is a dark green mineral that can sometimes be spotted like a snake skin, and is associated with once-wet environments, as the early Mars would have been when it first formed.  

The science community has long questioned the original NASA findings, suggesting something other than signs of life created the organic compounds. A recent study, using more modern methods and tools, found that rather than bacteria traces, the rock had traces of water.