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Sample Of Martian Colony At London Museum

A meteorite from Mars, with a sample of Martian colony, has been put on display at Natural History Museum, London.

According to the NASA scientists, snaps from a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) shows a bumpy surface, which resembles a fossilised colony of micro-bacteria, the smallest unit of life.

The fossilised remains were found in the rocks, which blasted out of Mars 16 million years ago, when the solar system was forming. The meteorite, called Allen Hills 84001, made headlines in 1996 after fossils were found in it.

Though some scientists believed they were bacteria from earth that contaminated the rock while it lay in the frozen wastes, a NASA report says that there is strong evidence that it originated on Mars.

Lead researcher Kathie Thomas Keprta found carbonate discs and tiny magnetite crystals inside the space rock. The researchers said that the unusual chemical and physical properties in the meteorite were intimately associated within these carbonate disks. This provides evidence of water on Mars more than 3.5 billion years ago.

Story first published: Friday, December 4, 2009, 9:46 [IST]