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Published October 27, 2000 | public
Journal Article

A Low Temperature Transfer of ALH84001 from Mars to Earth


The ejection of material from Mars is thought to be caused by large impacts that would heat much of the ejecta to high temperatures. Images of the magnetic field of martian meteorite ALH84001 reveal a spatially heterogeneous pattern of magnetization associated with fractures and rock fragments. Heating the meteorite to 40°C reduces the intensity of some magnetic features, indicating that the interior of the rock has not been above this temperature since before its ejection from the surface of Mars. Because this temperature cannot sterilize most bacteria or eukarya, these data support the hypothesis that meteorites could transfer life between planets in the solar system.

Additional Information

© 2000 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 1 May 2000; accepted 21 September 2000. We are grateful, for support and samples, to the NASA Ancient Martian Meteorite program, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the NASA Cosmochemistry program, the Division of Biological Infrastructure of the NSF, and the NIH. Financial support to H.V. was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We also thank A. Treiman, A. Maine, and S. Stewart for stimulating discussions, G. Rossman for thoughtful advice and use of equipment, and M. Sankaran and J. Maurer for help with the low-temperature experiments.

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October 23, 2023