Researchers in Wales Find Possible Evidence of Extraterrestrial Life

A meteorite which fell in Sri Lanka in December of 2012 appears to be of extraterrestrial origin and to contain fossilized remains of  biological life according to researchers in Cardiff, Wales. Via MIT Technology Review:

"The most startling claims, however, are based on electron microscope images of structures within the stones (see above). Wallis and co. say that one image shows a complex, thick-walled, carbon-rich microfossil about 100 micrometres across that bares similarities with a group of largely extinct marine dinoflagellate algae.

They say another image shows well-preserved flagella that are 2 micrometres in diameter and 100 micrometres long. By terrestrial standards, that’s extremely long and thin, which Wallis and co. interpret as evidence of formation in a low-gravity, low-pressure environment.

Wallis and co. also measured the abundance of various elements in the samples to determine their origin. They say that low levels of nitrogen in particular rule out the possibility of contamination by modern organisms which would have a much higher nitrogen content. The fact that these samples are also buried within the rock matrix is further evidence, they say"

Obviously there are skeptics who believe that, somehow, the rocks are of terrestrial origin or that the structures inside the rocks are not of biological origins. Researchers in Cardiff are still working to prove they've found what they think they have but it is, potentially, an exciting find. If life exists, or existed, somewhere else in space then we are not alone. If life exists on one planet then it's theoretically possible that a unique combination of accidents came together to make it happen. If life exists in at least two places, then it is not an accident and the odds are good that life exists in many places. Stay tuned! (As a side note, bonus points to the universe if the first hard evidence of extraterrestrial life is found in the city that is home to Doctor Who!)

Polonnaruwa meteorite

 
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