New study debunks fossils on Mars meteorite

— 1:08 AM on August 2, 2000

Remember how NASA found a rock in Antarctica and held a press conference telling us it was a Mars meteorite? Remember when they said there could be fossils of Martian life on the meteorite? Turns out it's all a load of crap.

Two scientists working out of the University of Greenwich, Professor Aron Vecht and researcher Terry Ireland, announced earlier today that they've replicated the shapes researchers once thought could be fossilized remains of ancient Martian life. They found if you bubble plain, old carbon dioxide through a solution of calcium chloride while ammonia is present at room temperature, a form of calcium carbonate called vaterite forms. The resulting formations from the vaterite match those found on the '96 Mars meteorite. The nail in the coffin is that carbon dioxide, calcium chloride, and ammonia most likely existed on Mars during the period when the meteorite was ejected from Mars.

And just to tie it all back to computing, I should mention the lab doesn't usually do research on Mars rocks—they research luminescent phosphor compounds for use in flat-screen TVs and monitors.

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