For about four decades scientists have debated if the organic compounds found on the surface of the meteorite called Alan Hills (ALH) 84001–which landed on Earth from Mars in 1984 – were proof of ancient, primitive life on Mars.
- These debates also included the possibilities that the compounds could have come from volcanic activity, impact events on Mars or hydrological exposure.
- The difference between a meteor, meteorite and meteoroid is nothing but where the object is.
- Meteoroids are objects in space that range in size from dust grains to small asteroids.
- But when meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere they are called meteors.
- But if a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and hits the ground, it is called a meteorite.
- Space agencies have launched specific missions to asteroids to be able to study them.
- One such example is NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission launched in 2018 with the aim of reaching asteroid Bennu and getting back a sample from the ancient asteroid.
About Alan Hills (ALH) 84001 meteorite
- Alan Hills (ALH) 84001 was found during a snowmobile ride on December 27, 1984 in the Far Western Icefield of Allan Hills in Antarctica by a US meteorite hunting expedition.
- At the time of its discovery it was recognised as the most unusual rock collected.
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