Possible Microfossils Found in Murchison Meteorite
posted on the Usenets by Ron Baalke <firstname.lastname@example.org>, July 31, 1997
At the SPIE conference being held at San Diego this week, Richard Hoover from Marshall Space Flight Center presented a paper claiming he has found possible microfossils in the Murchison meteorite. Murchison is a CM2 (carbonaceous chondrite meteorite) that fell in Australia in 1969. It is interesting to note that Murchison is a non-Martian meteorite. Richard Hoover is the chairman of the "Instruments, Methods and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms" program at the SPIE conference. Below is the abstract of Hoover's paper.
Meteorites, Microfossils, and Exobiology
Richard B. Hoover
Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama
The discovery of possible evidence of biogenic activity and putative microfossils in the SNC meteorite ALH84001 has profound implications. The existence of complex organic chemicals, biomarkers and possible nanofossils or microfossils in ALH84001 may result in a paradigm shift concerning attitudes relevant to the possibility of extraterrestrial microbial life. Much research by many groups is currently underway to obtain additional data on biomarkers, chemical fossils, and nanofossils in this and other SNC meteorites. These results strongly reveal the need for more in depth examination of prior results and future studies of SNC meteorites and carbonaceous chondrites.
New methods are also being explored to understand an minimize the effects of terrestrial background and to obtain more definitive proof of extant or ancient extraterrestrial microbial life. This paper will review prior observations of possible biogenic chemicals and microfossils in meteorites. Images of possible nannofossils and microfossils that have been recently obtained with the Field Emission and Environmental Scanning Electron Microsopes on uncoated, freshly broken, interior surfaces of the Murchison CM2 carbonaceous chondrite will be presented. Some of the exobiological and exopaleontological implications of recent discoveries concerning terrestrial extremophiles will be considered.