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A Low Temperature Transfer of ALH84001 from Mars to Earth

Science  27 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5492, pp. 791-795
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5492.791

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Abstract

The ejection of material from Mars is thought to be caused by large impacts that would heat much of the ejecta to high temperatures. Images of the magnetic field of martian meteorite ALH84001 reveal a spatially heterogeneous pattern of magnetization associated with fractures and rock fragments. Heating the meteorite to 40°C reduces the intensity of some magnetic features, indicating that the interior of the rock has not been above this temperature since before its ejection from the surface of Mars. Because this temperature cannot sterilize most bacteria or eukarya, these data support the hypothesis that meteorites could transfer life between planets in the solar system.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: bweiss{at}gps.caltech.edu

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