Mars has held our curiosity for quite some time. Its similar size to our native planet gives hope that there may be many other similarities. Could the Nakhla meteorite tell us more?
Since its location and temperature also make it seem like an inhabitable planet, we have kept our focus on this astral body. So far, we have found many indications that there was some form of life, at one time or the other. This life, although small, is proof enough that Mars may hold great mysteries yet.
One of the most outstanding examples of these findings came at the turn of the last century. In the year 1911, in Alexandria, Egypt, something very unique fell from Mars. A meteor shower, broken from the Nakhla Martian structure, pummeled the earth carrying cell-like structures.
Deeply embedded within the rocky flesh of these meteorites were ovoids, hollow areas filled with mysteries. It seemed that these hollow areas once held something, maybe Martian life.
These structures may have once held water or some other microbial colonies, and yes, this speculation was a strong one. This curiosity paved the way for tests and studies that left the experts in a sense of awe and confusion.
From the mouth of the Experts
Elias Chatztheodiridis from Athens and his group of researchers studied a fragment of the Nakhla meteorite taking various images. These images revealed different layers of the atomic material.
The ovoid-shaped spaces within were documented as being 60 microns wide and 80 microns long. This is large enough for a group of organisms to thrive, and space is found to be much larger than any home for terrestrial bacteria on earth.
Ion Lyon from Manchester thinks that the ovoid space may have once held water, heated water that cracked the rock, and evaporated. This process most likely occurred when the Nakhla meteorite made an impact.
An interesting idea
If asteroids fell to the earth in the form of meteorites, somewhere around the Abu Hummos district in Alexandria Egypt, then the same thing could have occurred on Mars.
Scientists tell us that an asteroid impact could have very well changed the atmosphere for Mars and helped life to evolve and change – at least Mars could have had water at some point. This idea could easily explain the trapped water within the Nakhla fragments.
So, what’s the verdict?
Unfortunately, there is still not enough evidence to prove the cell structures once held life forms. The ovoid spaces within the Nakhla meteorite fragments could have actually been created by geological methods instead of biological development.
So far, the only conclusive things found within the rock are iron-rich clay and other similar minerals. The cell structures that we would love to see as building blocks or life or vehicles to harbor life are simple a Martian mystery.
We are, however, getting closer. Around each corner and underneath yet another rock, we find something that looks more and more like life. At some point, we will find it, there is no question in that. Time, it seems, and patience are the only boundaries that we have to cross, in order to discover life on Mars.
Featured image: James Whatley / CC BY
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