English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips > 每日播报

Scientist: 'Alien' life forms on meteorites

[ 2011-03-08 10:36]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

进入英语学习论坛下载音频 去听写专区一展身手

A NASA scientist reported detecting tiny fossilized bacteria on three meteorites and maintains these microscopic life forms are not native to Earth.

If confirmed, this research would suggest life in the universe is widespread and life on Earth may have come from elsewhere in the solar system, riding to our planet on space rocks like comets, moons and other astral bodies.

The study, published in The Journal of Cosmology, is considered so controversial that it is accompanied by a statement from the journal's editor seeking other scientific comment.

The central claim of the study by astrobiologist Richard Hoover is that there is evidence of microfossils similar to cyanobacteria - blue-green algae, also known as pond scum - on the freshly fractured inner surfaces of three meteorites.

These microscopic structures had lots of carbon, a marker for Earth-type life, and almost no nitrogen, Hoover said.

Nitrogen can also be a sign of Earth-type life, but the lack of it only means that whatever nitrogen was in these structures has decomposed out into a gaseous form long ago, Hoover said.

"We have known for a long time that there were very interesting biomarkers in carbonaceous meteorites and the detection of structures that are very similar ... to known terrestrial cyanobacteria is interesting in that it indicates that life is not restricted to the planet Earth," Hoover said.

Hoover, based at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, has specialized in the study of microscopic life forms that survive extreme environments such as glaciers, permafrost and geysers.

He is not the first to claim discovery of microscopic life from other worlds.

In 1996, NASA scientists presented research indicating a 4-billion-year-old meteorite found in Antarctica carried evidence of fossilized microbial life from Mars.

The initial discovery of the so-called Mars meteorite was greeted with acclaim and the rock unveiled at a standing room-only briefing at NASA headquarters in Washington.

Since then, however, criticism has surrounded that discovery and conclusive proof has been elusive.


1. What is the ‘alien’ life found on a meteorite?

2. What properties make it a ‘earth-type’ life?

3. What does it mean?


1. Cyanobacteria - blue-green algae, also known as pond scum.

2. Lots of carbon, little nitrogen.

3. It would mean life could have formed across the universe.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Scientist: 'Alien' life forms on meteorites

Scientist: 'Alien' life forms on meteorites

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.