Did the ALH 84001 meteorite bring extraterrestrial life to Earth? This was NASA saying in 1996 – FayerWayer

Did the ALH 84001 meteorite bring extraterrestrial life to Earth?  This was NASA saying in 1996 – FayerWayer

It was listed as “The greatest discovery in the history of science.” On August 6, 1996, Daniel Goldin, administrator of the POTannounced the discovery of a microscopic life form that could have existed on Mars about 4 billion years ago… and was on Earth. Extraterrestrial life on Earth, all thanks to a meteorite called ALH 84001.

A huge stir was generated. Life on Mars, and present on Earth for about 13 thousand years!

But not all that glitters is gold, and this was later demonstrated.

The story begins with the discovery of the Alan Hills meteorite, or ALH 84001, in Antarctica in 1984. According to the researchers, it was a piece of Mars that came to our planet through a detachment on the red planet. NASA has since analyzed the rock, until Goldin finally released the information, ten days before it was published in the journal Science.

That August 6, at a press conference, Goldin noted, Quoted by CNN:

“I want everyone to know that we are not talking about ‘little green men.’ These are extremely small, single-celled structures that look a bit like bacteria on Earth. There is no evidence or suggestion that any form of higher life ever existed on Mars.”

A couple of things were clarified: it was not a higher life form… and that what was found looked a bit like bacteria on Earth.

Read:  Kevin Feige reveals his three favorite Spider-Man villains in the MCU – FayerWayer

Here the dissensions entered.

What was actually the material found in the meteorite by NASA? Did it really have extraterrestrial origin?

as you remember the newspaper El País, from Spain, “The hydrocarbons found in ALH 84001 and in other celestial bodies may very well come from abiotic (non-living) chemical reactions and the pseudo nanofossils are just artifacts produced during the preparation of the observed samples.”

For other scientists, those life forms were actually bacteria produced on Earth that had later attached to the meteorite.

In any case, as the researcher Philippe Gillet pointed out: “It is always risky to elaborate such a complex thesis from a simple stone”.

The ALH 84001 meteorite, which presumably had signs of extraterrestrial life, as it contained a species of bacteria that had come from Mars to Earth 13,000 years ago.

Since the 1990s, the push for Mars-bound space programs has been much greater, but “the greatest discovery in the history of science”, the life form found in the ALH 84001 meteorite, was left in the past.

Daniel McCleese, manager of NASA’s Earth and Space Sciences Division 32, said at the time: “The debate over ALH 84001 will continue for years, so we don’t consider that to be evidence yet. We find it hopeful and suggestive: that the environment on Mars could have been conducive to the development of life.”

We are in 2022, with several explorations already on the red planet and it still seems difficult to verify it.