We feel that we have been here before, but we are so interested that this latest research has got us wondering all over again – Deskarati
The buzz is building over a paper by Richard Hoover, an award-winning astrobiologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, concluding that filaments and other features found in the interior of three specimens of a rare class of meteorite appear to be fossils of a life form strongly resembling cyanobacteria. Chemical analysis, Hoover argues, shows no evidence that the fossils are of organisms that infiltrated the meteorites after they arrived on Earth.
Here’s one image from a field emission scanning electron microscope, showing what Hoover describes as features “interpreted as morphotypes of the cyanobacterium Calothrix spp.” ( Journal of Cosmology):
Hoover, who has for decades studied life forms that endure extreme conditions, has been probing such meteorites for many years, with earlier analysis — in 2007 and 2004 — revealing such structures and proposing a biological origin. Other work pointing to microfossils in meteorites goes back decades.
If Hoover’s new analysis and interpretations hold up to scrutiny, the work could powerfully influence longstanding debates over the origins of terrestrial life and rarity of life elsewhere in the universe. The grand conclusion, of course, would be that life is a widespread phenomenon — the concept known as panspermia — and life on this planet could be an immigrant. And of course there’s still the grand question of what started it all.