This beautiful blue planet is our home, right? Right? Maybe not, actually. An article in Nautilus magazine reveals that a chunk of meteorite discovered in Antarctica in 1984 could contain evidence that we are in fact, Martians. The 4-billion-year-old rock, poetically named ALH84001, contains microscopic magnetic crystals called magnetosomes which are usually formed by – drumroll – bacteria.
Geobiologist Joseph Kirschvink has studied the meteorite and believes that the magnetosomes are proof of Martian biology. “I think there were bacteria on Mars 4 billion years ago,” he says in Nautilus. And since this was prior to life on Earth… there’s a chance that our distant bacterial ancestors could have been Martian immigrants. “I really think we’re Martians,” Kirschvink says.
Planetary scientist at NASA, Chris McKay, isn’t so sure. He says that bacterial magnetosomes occur in chains, not single crystals, as found in ALH84001.
“It would be convincing to everyone… if the magnetosomes were in a necklace,” Nautilus quotes McKay. “If Joe found that in a meteorite, I would say, ‘Verily, it is so!’”
But Kirschvink isn’t giving up. He’s going to keep hunting around in ALH84001 until he finds these “necklaces” and uncovers the truth, like the Indiana Jones of electron microscopy. We hope he’s right. Being a Martian sounds kinda exotic.