Requiem for Life on Mars? Support for Microbes Fades

Science  20 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5393, pp. 1398
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5393.1398

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HOUSTON-- Signs of ancient life in a martian meteorite startled the world in August 1996 (Science, 16 August 1996, pp. 864 and 924), but at a NASA workshop here early this month, scientists concluded that 2 years of intensive study have not strengthened the claims. Indeed, key parts of the original case have been scaled back, including the suggestion that spheroidal and tubular objects found in fractures within the meteorite could be fossilized extraterrestrial microbes. Most researchers agree that the case for life is shakier than ever. But the originators of the life-on-Mars hypothesis are not ready to call it quits.