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Study nixes Mars life in meteorite found in Antarctica

by The Associated Press | January 14, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.
FILE - The meteorite labeled ALH84001 is held in the hand of a scientist at a Johnson Space Center lab in Houston, Aug. 7, 1996. Scientists say they've confirmed the meteorite from Mars contains no evidence of ancient Martian life. The rock caused a splash 25 years ago when a NASA-led team announced that its organic compounds may have been left by living creatures, however primitive. Researchers chipped away at that theory over the decades. A team of scientists led by Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution published their findings Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A 4 billion-year-old meteorite from Mars that caused a splash here on Earth decades ago contains no evidence of ancient, primitive Martian life after all, scientists reported Thursday.

In 1996, a NASA-led team announced that organic compounds in the rock appeared to have been left by living creatures. Other scientists were skeptical and researchers chipped away at that premise over the decades, most recently by a team led by the Carnegie Institution for Science's Andrew Steele.

Tiny samples from the meteorite show the carbon-rich compounds are actually the result of water -- most likely salty, or briny, water -- flowing over the rock for a prolonged period, Steele said.

photo This Feb. 10, 2021 image taken by the United Arab Emirates' "Amal," or "Hope," probe released Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, shows Mars. Scientists say they've confirmed the meteorite from Mars contains no evidence of ancient Martian life. The rock caused a splash 25 years ago when a NASA-led team announced that its organic compounds may have been left by living creatures, however primitive. Researchers chipped away at that theory over the decades. A team of scientists led by Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution published their findings Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center/UAE Space Agency, via AP)
photo FILE- Mars rock Allan Hills 84001, discovered in 1984, is shown at a NASA news conference, Aug. 7, 1996, in Washington. Scientists say they've confirmed the meteorite from Mars contains no evidence of ancient Martian life. The rock caused a splash 25 years ago when a NASA-led team announced that its organic compounds may have been left by living creatures, however primitive. Researchers chipped away at that theory over the decades. A team of scientists led by Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution published their findings Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, file)

Print Headline: Study nixes Mars life in meteorite found in Antarctica

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