The Tissint meteorite that fell to Earth in Morocco on 18 July 2011 was ejected from Mars by an asteroid impact that ook place some 700,000 years ago, according to researchers.
The pieces of the meteorite were found to have fissures caused by water and Within these fissures some elements were found that had seeped inside. The traces of carbon isotopes in the meteorite match that of coal on Earth. Based on these traces, researchers say the rock has a biological origin or the Tissint might be an evidence of past extra-terrestrial life on Mars.
They said carbon traces could have been deposited into the fissures of the rock when it was still on Mars by the infiltration of fluid that was rich in organic matter.
“So far, there is no other theory that we find more compelling,” said Philippe Gillet, director of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)’s Earth and Planetary Sciences Laboratory.
The meteorite, named Tissint, was ejected from Mars after an asteroid crashed on its surface, and fell on the Moroccan desert on July 18, 2011. The alien rock was found to have small fissures that were filled with carbon-containing matter.
While several research teams have already said the component is organic in nature, they are still debating where the carbon came from.
The new study conducted by researchers from China, Japan and Germany showed that the carbon contents were deposited in the Tissint’s fissures before it was ejected by Mars.
A more plausible explanation is that liquids containing organic compounds of biological origin infiltrated Tissint’s “mother” rock at low temperatures near the Martian surface.
“Insisting on certainty is unwise, particularly on such a sensitive topic. However, our conclusions are such that they will rekindle the debate as to the possible existence of biological activity on Mars – at least in the past,” Gillet argued.
The paper appeared in the scientific journal Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences.