Building blocks of life found in famous Mars meteorite

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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This report was interesting. ALH84001 in the news off and on since mid-1990s. Remember, Mars atmosphere has molecular nitrogen too, however small compared to CO2 abundance. Nitrogen at Mars has been known for a long while now.
 
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Jan 4, 2020
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Yes, it is interesting! Not least because ALH84001 was buried close to the subsurface for a very long time and so points to early organics survival that Perseverance may find. The nitrogen chemistry points to a more pH neutral environment at the time, which is also promising.
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Yes, searches for life on Mars is ongoing with some notable consensus science views from 1907 and 1943 that considered vegetation grew on Mars documented here.

“If vegetation exists on Mars, as Prof. Lowell would have us believe, the existence of a flora is ground for suspecting a fauna. On Mars we find ourselves confronted in the canals and oases by precisely the appearance which the planet should show if it is an inhabited world. Dearth of water is the key to the character of the canals. The only available water on Mars is that coming from the semi-annual melting at the one or the other cap of snow. If there are intelligent beings on Mars, they must find some means of conducting the scant supply of water from the poles to the centers of populations.” —Scientific American, July 1907 More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our shiny anniversary page."

“If, as appears to be probable, vegetation exists on Mars, life has developed on two out of the three planets in our system where it has any chance to do so. With this as a guide, it appears now to be probable that the whole number of inhabited worlds within the Galaxy is considerable. To think of thousands, or even more, now appears far more reasonable than to suppose that our planet alone is the abode of life and reason. What the forms of life might be on these many worlds is a question before which even the most speculative mind may quail. Imagination, in the absence of more knowledge of the nature of life than we now possess, is unequal to the task. There is no reason, however, against supposing that, under favorable conditions, organisms may have evolved which equal or surpass man in reason and knowledge of Nature. And, let us hope, in harmony among themselves!” —Scientific American, July 1943

There is at least 200 Martian meteorites in the current inventory. ALH84001 was the most hopeful to contain fossils of life on Mars reported during the Clinton Administration. Future searches for life on Mars present or Mars past, could return null results like all past efforts since 1907 through ALH84001 and some other Martian meteorites. The Galilean moons are confirmed as orbiting Jupiter by Galileo and still observed with backyard telescopes today. However, confirmation of life on Mars today or in the past, remains to be demonstrated.
 
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Feb 18, 2020
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Come on Rod - Lowell is long gone.
Where are you taking this thread?

I have the utmost respect for your intelligence but, come on, does it need to be that circuitous? Just a little more succinct would be appreciated . . . . . . . . . or am I alone in this?
 
Feb 1, 2020
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Come on Rod - Lowell is long gone.
Yes. Lowell was wrong on several fronts. But the point is, I think that there is a long string of scientists that believed or hoped that there would be life on Mars. Now we are down to just hoping for bacteria, but that hope is still there. It goes back to long before Lowell too.

Personally, given the political climate of today, I hope we don't find life. It will make the current plans of people like Robert Zubrin and Elon Musk so much easier.

Hopefully there will be life on Mars in 20 years. Human life.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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*a long string of scientists that believed or hoped that there would be life on Mars* FYI. This is exactly why I presented the short recap from 1907 through ALH84001 today illustrating this was belief and not science fact. The *believed* or *hoped* does not follow the same standard of observation and verification that Galileo used against the geocentric solar system teachers. Perhaps someday, science will show life existed on Mars or still does, however, at present this is not confirmed by the scientific method like the Galilean moons, thus it remains a belief or hope.
 
Feb 18, 2020
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Depends on what you mean by building blocks.
Bit of C bit of H bit of N bit of O
Proves NOCH

Suggests so-called building blocks present.
Still needs a builder and some mortar.
 
Jan 4, 2020
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Depends on what you mean by building blocks.
Bit of C bit of H bit of N bit of O
Proves NOCH

Suggests so-called building blocks present.
Yes, building blocks of biomolecules that on Earth evolved and are evolving still. The current identified pathway was through alkaline hydrothermal vents, that we know Mars have had (Spirit got stuck and died in the silica produced by one, say).

The short time until life evolved on Earth means early evolution was also easy in these conditions, so should happen where we find them. Early Mars would have been a good place (and so is late Enceladus too, plumes driven by the same type of vents).

But if we don't find extant or extinct life, we have to reassess. Likely Mars has life within the crust even today, though spotty such (inhomogeneous crust, one part of which is volatile rich). That should not mix with Earth life or vice versa, it is the current geosphere specialist so Earth prokaryotes - who will be mostly coevolved with us or our plants - should have a hard time to get to resources.
 
Apr 9, 2020
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I am reminded of a Star Trek Next Generation episode where miners were working on a 'lifeless' planet but suffered malfunctions in their technology. We found out it was caused by 'life' whose home on the planet was a few feet beneath the surface in a layer of salinity that existed across much of the planet. "Who would have thought that was possible?" exclaimed the miners.

On Mars I 'hope/believe/expect' to find microbial life in layer(s) of brine or saline waters also just below the surface where such liquid exists. My second choice for finding life on Mars is in its caves, where I expect that some of the water from its rivers and lakes and oceans disappeared to instead of vaporizing into space.

But all of this is just speculation, of course. I would never speak as if it were fact. I will leave it to the rovers and if not them, then to the future humans on Mars to prove me right or wrong. But a man can dream, after all.
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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"But all of this is just speculation, of course. I would never speak as if it were fact."

FYI, an important statement and observation here I feel. The meteorite Allan Hills 84001 in this report has a long history of reworked radiometric dating using different isotopes to identify the object's *true age*. Early ages were 4.63E+9 years old, and others 4.5 billion years old or older. More recent dating accepted for ALH84001 was 4.09E+9 years old. The 4.09E+9 age fits better with the *Noachian* period interpreted for Mars past and when life could be there. All Martian meteorites, wikipedia reports 99, other reports I have claim 200 Martian meteorites, have various radiometric ages reported along with different CRE ages too.
 
Jan 4, 2020
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"But all of this is just speculation, of course. I would never speak as if it were fact."

FYI, an important statement and observation here I feel. The meteorite Allan Hills 84001 in this report has a long history of reworked radiometric dating using different isotopes to identify the object's *true age*. Early ages were 4.63E+9 years old, and others 4.5 billion years old or older. More recent dating accepted for ALH84001 was 4.09E+9 years old. The 4.09E+9 age fits better with the *Noachian* period interpreted for Mars past and when life could be there. All Martian meteorites, wikipedia reports 99, other reports I have claim 200 Martian meteorites, have various radiometric ages reported along with different CRE ages too.
10 % uncertainty seems not much considering the difficulties, even though individual radiometric dating techniques can be much more precise and self calibrating (isochron techniques) for robustness. The map datings rely on impact dating to a large degree, and they are much more uncertain - Curiosity gave the first "on the ground" calibration point for Gale crater environment.

Mostly, of the found meteorites thus far [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martian_meteorite ] - almost all seems to derive from three ejecta events. "... as of April 2019, 266 meteorites have been identified as Martian, out of over 61,000 known meteorites. ... As of April 25, 2018, 192 of the 207 Martian meteorites are divided into three rare groups of achondritic (stony) meteorites: shergottites (169), nakhlites (20), chassignites (3), and ones otherwise (containing the orthopyroxenite (OPX) Allan Hills 84001, as well as 10 basaltic breccia meteorites).[1] Consequently, Martian meteorites as a whole are sometimes referred to as the SNC group. "

- "Roughly three-quarters of all Martian meteorites can be classified as shergottites. ... The shergottites appear to have crystallised as recently as 180 million years ago ...".

- "Nakhlites are igneous rocks that are rich in augite and were formed from basaltic magma from at least four eruptions, spanning around 90 million years, from 1416 ± 7 to 1322 ± 10 million years ago. ... It has been shown that the nakhlites were suffused with liquid water around 620 million years ago and that they were ejected from Mars around 10.75 million years ago by an asteroid impact. They fell to Earth within the last 10,000 years."

- "Chassigny is particularly important because, unlike most SNCs, its noble gas composition differs from that in the current Martian atmosphere. These differences are presumably due to its cumulate (mantle-derived) nature.[4] " [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chassigny_(meteorite) ]

IIRC chassignites are also recently ejected. But in any case, there is lot of radiometric (and other geologic) ages to keep track of (formation age, environment change ages, ejection age, impact age, discovery date). And some dating processes affect the others (such as weathering on Mars and Earth). Are there any cases where dating uncertainties has had a huge impact on the science lately? The last time around has been crater dating (suggesting a "late heavy bombardment" that now seems fictional), and cosmological dating before that (suggesting universe ages younger than some stellar model ages, before the LCDM physics was discovered).
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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"10 % uncertainty seems not much considering the difficulties...".

ALH84001 dating had a number of old ages reported ranging 4.4 to 4.63 billion years old and dates like this could not fit with the Noachian period of Mars evolution and life on Mars so this has a real impact on reconstructing the evolutionary history of Mars, especially when ALH84001 hit the news in 1996 with possible Martian life fossils. Many of the Martian meteorites come with a wide range of dates too, e.g. NWA 8114, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019GeCoA.246..267M/abstract, "Table A1 40Ar-39Ar analytical data for NWA 8114 clasts." shows quite a spread of ages obtained for NWA 8114 clasts", this includes all the CRE different ages too.

"But in any case, there is lot of radiometric (and other geologic) ages to keep track of (formation age, environment change ages, ejection age, impact age, discovery date). And some dating processes affect the others (such as weathering on Mars and Earth)."

Comments like this are needed in public reports because it shows that reconstructing evolutionary events on Mars to support the Noachian period for life on Mars - is not a clean bill. All dating methods used today via radiometric dating, CRE ages, etc. do not come with clean bills but many dirty amendments attached :)
 
May 8, 2020
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This story keep bouncing around Venus needed to move it planet was getting too hot, there were two planets that potentially could support life ,one on earth and one on mars. This was 5.4 billion years ago. at 3.6 billion earth was no longer useful and all traces have long since been removed. and on mars it was destroyed by Venus command over issues with ownership. earth even had an attack and their were many wars on both worlds stuff flying allover the place. Some still live on Venus under made made systems but they have never evolved beyond the basic system that was set up .
 

COLGeek

Moderator
Apr 3, 2020
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This story keep bouncing around Venus needed to move it planet was getting too hot, there were two planets that potentially could support life ,one on earth and one on mars. This was 5.4 billion years ago. at 3.6 billion earth was no longer useful and all traces have long since been removed. and on mars it was destroyed by Venus command over issues with ownership. earth even had an attack and their were many wars on both worlds stuff flying allover the place. Some still live on Venus under made made systems but they have never evolved beyond the basic system that was set up .
Doink? And this comes from where? Please share...:oops:
 
May 8, 2020
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your forum is vey nice , many forums only allow pure science based on evidence I just finished up with one, I found them a negative and even rude to people who have just joined and clearly all left. so good work you seem to have more understanding relevant to the real world of discussion rather the what ever that other group was peddling.it is one thing to be a scientist or a citizen scientist. and engage with others to polish of beliefs in science own ideas. and be able to two back and forth in a discussion . I think that other group was a bunch of tax payer funded scientists. who lack the basic capacity to understand observation has no need for evidence its observation. observation collects evidence.
 
Feb 3, 2020
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If the building blocks of life exist on our neighboring planet, I wonder why life seemingly didn't take hold there in the scale and scope we have here? Limited perhaps by being beyond the Goldilocks Zone? On the surface anyway, life seems more adaptable than that.
 
May 2, 2020
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The famed Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 contains 4-billion-year-old organic molecules, the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it, a new study suggests.

Building blocks of life found in famous Mars meteorite: Read more
so where did this specimen that you are studying right now come from? I understand that theory have been bouncing off of each other but where did you get this particular piece you are studying right now
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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"so where did this specimen that you are studying right now come from?"

Reports indicate ALH84001 was discovered by meteorite hunters in Antarctica. Google search, "Allan Hills 84001 is a fragment of a Martian meteorite that was found in the Allan Hills in Antarctica on December 27, 1984, by a team of American meteorite hunters from the ANSMET project. Like other members of the shergottite–nakhlite–chassignite group of meteorites, ALH84001 is thought to have originated on Mars. Wikipedia"

However, mars rocks observed on Mars can sometimes can surprises too, Mars rock touched by NASA Curiosity has surprises

So the specific answer to the question is ALH84001 was found on Earth in Antarctica and interpreted from different tests to originate on Mars.
 
Feb 18, 2020
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Apologies if a repetition, have not read all:

Sorry (and I am a Chemical Engineer graduate) this is rather like saying I found some nuts and bolts and shouted worldwide that I have found the building blocks of the Eiffel Tower. Fair comparison with DNA?

Of course, it is in favour of my assertion, the fact that the ET was actually welded!

Cat :)

P.S. Ever heard of putting the Cat amongst the pigeons?
Purrrrrrrr ;)
 

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