Polonnaruwa Meteorite

A group of scientists says on December 2012, a meteorite fell over Sri Lanka may held "fossilized biological structures". The algae-like fossils also give a strong hint that life on Earth began when a meteorite carrying basic organisms crashed on to the planet billions of years ago – a theory known as panspermia. However other experts have suggested that the meteorite may simply have been contaminated.

If true, this discovery would strongly suggest that life exists elsewhere in space. Astrobiologists at Cardiff University have tirelessly analysed the sections of the Polonnaruwa meteorite, confirming they contain ‘fossilised biological structures’.

In a paper appearing in the March 2013 edition of the Journal of Cosmology, the scientists describe their in-depth analysis of the meteorite fragments.

"Preliminary inspection of a few of the SEM images revealed the presence of a number of highly carbonaceous biological structures," they wrote. "Some of these were deeply integrated in the surrounding mineral matrix indicating they could not have been recent biological contaminants."

When the meteorite story first broke in January, astronomer Phil Plait wrote on his Bad Astronomy blog that he was dubious of the Journal of Cosmology as well as the initial claims of the scientists involved with the fossils-in-the-meteorite narrative. In contrast to the scientists, who believe they've determined that life exists in space, Plait makes his own case that alleges they haven't determined this was all from a real meteorite, and that they didn't eliminate the contamination possibility.





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