Shop Windows to the Universe

Earth Science Rocks! Select one of our four cool NESTA t-shirts from our online store, and express your love of Earth and space science!

Exploratour: Life on Mars?

This is a picture of the meteorite ALH84001.
Click on image for full size
NASA

Life on Mars?

In July, 1996 a team of scientists said that they had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in a meteorite named ALH84001 that came from Mars. It was found in Antarctica in 1984 after having landed there 12,000 years ago. After a couple years of study, it appears that the scientists were wrong.

Some chemicals found in the meteorite look like chemicals created by life on Earth. These same chemicals can also be created without the help of life. Small balls or spheres were seen in the meteorite which the scientists in 1996 thought were the fossilized remains of bacteria. However, they are roughly 1000 times smaller than the smallest life known on Earth. This seems much too small to be life. Other pieces of evidence turned out to have come from Earth after the rock landed here, and not from Mars at all.

The environment of Mars in the past was very different than it is today. Conditions then may have been favorable for the existence of life. Its too bad, but the Mars meteorite just isn't the proof that some people hoped it would be.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games section of our online store includes a climate change card game and the Traveling Nitrogen game!

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Newly Discovered Martian Lakes and Canyon!

Lakes and a river have been found in the highlands of Mars. They wouldn't be good places for a swim because there isn't any water in them! But the scientists know that there was probably water there a...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Look at the bed below the body of the sleeping man. You can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects (not just people) release infrared light. Warmer objects give off more infrared light. Very hot objects radiate other types of light as well. Click on the picture to see the infrared...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

What kinds of light can people see? Our eyes can see visible light. When it passes into our eyes different types of visible light create different sensations that we see as colors. ...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA