• Question: is the image of the partially fossilized martian worm real?????

    Asked by smayo to Sara on 20 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      Hello again smayo! I am having fun with your questions =)

      Hmmmmm, I am guessing you are talking about some of the pictures circulating the net of potential microbes that are circulating around the internet? A lot of this pictures show “microbes” that are extended and look sort-of like worms. Well, the general scientific consensus is no they are not real martians. The majority of claims purporting to discover Martian life have supposedly found this life in meteorites that fell to Earth. These rocks were originally on Mars, got ejected when an impactor (such as another large space rock) hit Mars, and traveled all the way to Earth. This actually happens frequently (lots of Earth rocks are on Mars and lots of Mars rocks on Earth). The problem is that Earth is teeming with life, it is everywhere! So the second that rock hits Earth it is nearly impossible to disentangle whether microbes living in it are Martian or terran (coming from Earth). We have clever techniques to try and figure it out, but none have been conclusive. In fact, it is really tough to identify fossils of microorganisms period, never mind whether they came along with the rock from mars or not!! What we really need to do then is send more experiments to Mars to search for life, where we can be more sure it is actually Martian!!

      So, short answer is no they are probably not really fossilized martian organism remains. And even if they were it is really tough to positively identify them as such. Too bad, it would be an amazing discovery!! This is why I am totally for sending more space probes up there to find out what is really going on!