Sunday, March 6, 2011

Finding [Miniature] Alien Life: taking a short break from the CE2ps.

There's a new study that has hit the journals concerning the slow-going scientifically conservative way of pursuing the existence of Alien Life, but it is of interest [to me, at least] nevertheless. It appears in the March issue of the Journal of Cosmology and you can google it easily if you're intrigued. The primary author is Richard B. Hoover, and he is from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

The study concerns the team's claims to finding clear evidence of fossilized Cyanobacteria in the interiors of certain types of Carbonaceous Chondrite meteorites. [designated "CI1s"]. This class of meteorites was selected because [as far as I can tell] of the characteristics of their interior geology, making the case that you are NOT looking at terrestrial contamination easier. The most famous meteorite in the CI1 class is the Orgueil, which fell in France in the 19th century, and has been studied more than any other outer space visitor. [a picture of a piece of the Orgueil is at the left].The electron microscopy of some of the bacteria-like filaments found by NASA is striking [please Google the paper to see them--I got a little lazy it seems and didn't download any for easy inclusion here], but the microscopy doesn't stand alone. Chemical constitution tests of elemental ratios were done on specific filamentous structures, which exhibit a greater carbon-content richness than surrounding matrix. The main evidence for the "likeness" to Earth-born cyanobacteria is, however, the microstructure. This is probably the final brick in the wall to getting the conservative establishment to include this sort of discovery in the textbooks---sort of Science's Imprimatur on the Truth.

This is great for the exploratory adventure that we in the human race are on, and fits nicely into what everyone was ready to believe anyway---that is typically the way of Science, at least in the textbook stage. It, of course, does nothing to help us in UFOlogy. Extraterrestrial fossil bacteria are a long [psychological] distance from currently visiting alien technology---and the two are miles apart in laboratory-style evidence. So...Nice, but not to get cocky about in our commentary.

For me, there was an added bit of "fun" in this. I own a piece of the Murchison meteorite. The Murchison is also a carbonaceous chondrite, though not a CI1. It is a CM2, probably the next clearest example of a potentially non-contaminated-and-demonstrably-non-contaminated specimen. A piece of the Murchison is shown next above on the left. [It looks very much like my own, but bigger]. The Murchison easily out-competes the CI1s in carbon-content and bio-organic molecules [90+ varieties of amino acid-like molecules have been found there, including almost all the terrestrially biologically-active ones----you probably could "eat" an extract of the Murchison if you were "Lost-in-Space" and were desperate and had the extraction technology.] This new paper may open up the field to re-exploring the Murchison and other carbonaceous chondrites for further strong evidence of ET life. That would be extra fun for me just to childishly hold the thing in my hand.

I also am blessed with a piece of the Allende carbonaceous chondrite, but it will probably not contain fossilized alien life. It is VERY rich in carbon-containing molecules, but is is very old. [a picture of a piece of the Allende is at the bottom]. This meteorite is considered perhaps the oldest known bit of matter on Earth, estimated to have been formed in a supernova burst over 4 1/2 billion years ago. Some folks think that a rain of stuff like the Allende formed the resident bio-organic "pool" of resources to get Life on its early start.

And, just for fun: both the Murchison and the Allende came to Earth in 1969. The Universe was laughing at us and saying: well you clowns couldn't get anything done with the Condon Project, so try these two things!! Hah! Got to love a Universe with a sense of humor.


  1. It would also seem to give more weight to claims of fossilized bacterioid life found in the martian meteorite a while back:

  2. Maybe but that was more complicated and, if memory serves, involved some problems both with the weathering/potential contamination issue, and with size abnormality of the alleged bacterial form. Of course I'm rooting for all these things, but that one seemed to have several unresolved objections.

  3. Thanks, Professor.

    What about the so-called "Murray" meteor of September, 1950? Some very famous people used it to bolster their own PansPermial beliefs, but the Vatican later claimed their own sample was terrestrial. I have never heard anything more about it. Have you?

  4. I believe that the Murray meteorite is the other iconic CM [Carbonaceous Chondrite class two, in the older way of speaking] meteorite and has very similar status as the Murchison. That is, it's loaded with complex bio-organics like amino acids. The general opinion about the Murray is, I believe, that it is clearly extraterrestrial, but with no known complex structural elements like bacterial forms noted [yet anyway]. The Murray would be another candidate for a closer look, but if it and the Murchison are determined to be supernova burst formed, then there will be no "critters" in them, just the "makin's of critters".



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