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1 aagcobb  Sat, Mar 5, 2011 10:11:10pm

I remember when NASA announced they had fossilized evidence of life on Mars, which was subsequently thoroughly debunked. It would be a fantastic discovery if true, but only time will tell.

2 Bob Dillon  Sat, Mar 5, 2011 10:13:54pm

re: #1 aagcobb

This time it looks like they have it.

3 Prononymous, rogue demon hunter  Sat, Mar 5, 2011 10:21:57pm

Wait for the vetting on this one folks.

If true it is the biggest discovery in science since…well, since a long time.

If false, it is a bigger letdown than the arsenic bacteria.

re: #1 aagcobb

I remember when NASA announced they had fossilized evidence of life on Mars, which was subsequently thoroughly debunked. It would be a fantastic discovery if true, but only time will tell.

No, it wasn’t debunked. Results are ambiguous to this day.

4 Prononymous, rogue demon hunter  Sat, Mar 5, 2011 10:27:10pm

Also, take a look at the actual paper: http://journalofcosmology.com/Life100.html

Even if you don’t understand all of the technical jargon, you can get an idea of what is being examined and the pictures are nice.

5 freetoken  Sat, Mar 5, 2011 11:20:25pm

re: #3 prononymous

No, it wasn’t debunked. Results are ambiguous to this day.

Which was the word I was going to use. The problem is that as far as “forensic” evidence goes what was found then, and perhaps it is true now too, is not conclusive.

6 Prononymous, rogue demon hunter  Sun, Mar 6, 2011 3:43:06am

After reading the paper I must say I have my doubts. The structures he found do resemble the organisms he mentions. But I could also see potential ways for them to arise abiotically and I don’t believe he has done enough to rule them out.

I am not even remotely an expert in analyzing electron microscope images. Most of my microscope time is in darkfield transmitted light on the absolutely fantastic Leitz Orthoplan microscope.

With that said though, I can’t help but imagine ways for these structures to have arisen through chemical processes. The structures resembling sheathed trichomes also resemble extrusions - the shape of the orifice determining the size of the extrusion and the presence or absence of longitudinal striations. The slight increase in size nearest the substrate reinforcing that impression. The transverse striations could be interpreted as biological structures or as cracks arising from forces perpendicular to the extrusion.

The most compelling images are 4a and 5a. I can’t quite imagine an extrusion process, or other chemical process, that would generate those structures. Though it might be a failure of imagination/knowledge on my part. However, If these images do represent fossilized life then I put forth that the author failed to mention the spherical structures in 3a,b that superficially resemble cocci bacteria.

Quite interesting. Wait for a consensus before deciding if this is true or not. There will be a lot of followup investigation of such a controversial claim. It could take years. But meanwhile, it could be fun discussing if we think this is a real finding and what the implications would be if true.

7 Bob Dillon  Sun, Mar 6, 2011 9:28:11am

re: #6 prononymous

Carl Sagan has to be smiling - “We are, all of us, made of star-stuff.”


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