Possibility of life on Mars :Meteorite found in 1984 hinted
- A new study is recently released which offers an explanation for the existence of organic compounds on the surface of Meteorite called (ALH) 84001.
- It landed on Earth from Mars in 1984, and can possibly unravel the existence of life on Mars (Red Planet).
- Alan Hills (ALH) 84001 was found in December, 1984 in the Far Western Icefield of Allan Hills in Antarctica by a US meteorite hunting expedition.
- Its dimensions were about 6 inches long by 4 inches by 3 inches, and was partly covered with black glass.
- 2021- NASA’s Perseverance rover collected the first sample of Martian rock.
- Now it can be ascertained that the meteorite actually came from the Red planet because of the presence of traces of certain gases that are just like the Martian atmosphere.
Revelations from the study about organic compounds:
- The study posits that the organic compounds found in the meteorite were a result of the interactions between water and rocks that occurred on Mars.
- These interactions, the scientists observed, were similar to those that happen on Earth.
- These non-biological, geological reactions are responsible for a pool of organic carbon compounds from which life could have evolved and represent a background signal that must be taken into consideration when searching for evidence of past life on Mars.
Difference between a meteor, meteorite and meteoroid
- Meteoroids - objects in space that range in size from dust grains to small asteroids. aka space rocks
- Meteors- When meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere they are called meteors.
- Meteorite- If a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere and hits the ground, it is called a meteorite.
Importance of Meteorite study
- Stellar evolution
- Some meteorites contain grains of dust (“stardust”) that were produced by stars before the formation of our Solar System.
- Studies of these presolar grains can increase our understanding of star formation and evolution.
- Age and composition of the Solar System
- By analysing the concentrations of multiple elements and their isotopes in meteorites, researchers add to our knowledge of the age and bulk chemical composition of the Solar System and the order in which different components in meteorites, their parent bodies, and the Solar System formed.
- Solar System evolution
- Analysis of different types of meteorites and their components in our cutting-edge research laboratories is leading to new knowledge of the earliest conditions in our Solar System, and determining the pathways to forming habitable worlds.
- Geologic history of Earth and the Moon
- Large meteorite impacts have shaped the face of our planet and the Moon through time.
- Many scientists believe that a very large impact was even responsible for the formation of the Moon.
- History of life
- Meteorites may have brought to Earth the components necessary for life – organic compounds such as carboxylic acids, complex amino acids, aliphatic amines, acetic acid and formic acid can be transported great distances inside space rocks.
- Additionally, large meteorite impacts, like the one ~65 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs, can lead to major extinctions and influence the course of life on our planet.