Could meteorites give us clues about early sources of life in space? (Image taken from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hoba_meteorite,_Grootfontein2.jpg)

 

In our ever curious quest to find extraterrestrial life, scientists may have come across a new pathway for exploration: meteorites. A recent study from the Journal of Cosmology shows that analysis of meteorites that fell to Earth may contain fragments that look coincidentally like those that are characteristic of a class of microorganisms called cyanobacteria.

These particular meteorites are fascinating because the filaments that were found may potentially be ancient bacteria from nearly 4 billion years ago! That’s around the time that our solar system was being born, so this find is certainly exhilarating for those of us who are intrigued by the origins of life itself.

Despite the enormous implications of this research, other researchers are somewhat skeptical. Ongoing discussions on the project seem to be focused heavily on the (perhaps) absurd claims that the author makes given the current data that is known about meteorites. In the past, scientists have scoured over thousands of meteorites to find no evidence of any form of life, so the truth of the claims made in the research paper is still debatable. Nonetheless, the prospect is certainly exciting, and I hope that astrobiologists and others will continue the search for the beginnings of life.

Sources:

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/03/05/6198177-life-in-meteorites-study-stirs-debate?GT1=43001

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