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The extreme biology of meteorites : Their role in understanding the origin and distribution of life on earth and in the universe

Lee, Natuschka N.; Fritz, Jörg; Fries, Marc D.; Gil, Jose F.; Beck, Andreas; Pellinen-Wannberg, Asta; Schmitz, Birger LU ; Steele, Andrew and Hofmann, Beda A. (2017) In Adaption of Microbial Life to Environmental Extremes p.283-325
Abstract

Meteorites have captured our fascination since our early history-they have evoked awe, fear, an irresistible curiosity, and numerous lively debates. Former historians have indicated that many of the ancient cultures and civilizations in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Inuit, and the native Indians in America regarded both the meteorite and the location of their fall as sacred. Thus, they used the meteorites as religious objects or for craft design like jewelry, weapons, or even practical things like tools and horse shoes. Today, meteorites continue to capture our fascination through popular cultural formats such as science fiction and also as a scientific window that reveals the secrets of the Solar System formation. Within academia,... (More)

Meteorites have captured our fascination since our early history-they have evoked awe, fear, an irresistible curiosity, and numerous lively debates. Former historians have indicated that many of the ancient cultures and civilizations in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Inuit, and the native Indians in America regarded both the meteorite and the location of their fall as sacred. Thus, they used the meteorites as religious objects or for craft design like jewelry, weapons, or even practical things like tools and horse shoes. Today, meteorites continue to capture our fascination through popular cultural formats such as science fiction and also as a scientific window that reveals the secrets of the Solar System formation. Within academia, meteorites have always fomented keen scientific debate. It was not until the early nineteenth century that the cosmic origin of meteorites, i.e., being truly not tellurian, was approved by the scientific community after the late eighteenth-century work of Ernst F. Chladni (1794). This implied for the first time that there are other smaller bodies in the sky besides the Moon. After this, several other lively debates followed on controversial findings and hypotheses around the role of meteorites in the universe and for the evolutionary course of life on Earth, often in connection with the profound difficulties to approach this subject in an adequate scientific way. Principally the different types of meteorites (asteroids, meteors, etc.) can be viewed as a most extreme or exotic substrate, habitat, and transport mode of chemicals and possibly even of cell-based life forms for several reasons: (i) They have experienced a remarkable history since their origin as condensates from the Solar Nebula, more or less metamorphosed or molten fragments of asteroids, or rocks from Mars or our Moon. (ii) The meteorites have been exposed to multiple extreme conditions ranging from milliseconds to billions of years duration when traveling through the interplanetary space, until they fell down on an astronomical body like Earth. (iii) Once on Earth, the meteorites get exposed to different weathering conditions, which often makes it a challenge to retrieve their former history in an unambiguous way.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
in
Adaption of Microbial Life to Environmental Extremes
pages
43 pages
publisher
Springer International Publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:85034075713
ISBN
9783319483276
9783319483252
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-48327-6_11
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1b996631-9f88-46b0-849b-a6cda9cfd47f
date added to LUP
2017-12-11 13:36:51
date last changed
2018-01-07 12:28:10
@inbook{1b996631-9f88-46b0-849b-a6cda9cfd47f,
  abstract     = {<p>Meteorites have captured our fascination since our early history-they have evoked awe, fear, an irresistible curiosity, and numerous lively debates. Former historians have indicated that many of the ancient cultures and civilizations in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Inuit, and the native Indians in America regarded both the meteorite and the location of their fall as sacred. Thus, they used the meteorites as religious objects or for craft design like jewelry, weapons, or even practical things like tools and horse shoes. Today, meteorites continue to capture our fascination through popular cultural formats such as science fiction and also as a scientific window that reveals the secrets of the Solar System formation. Within academia, meteorites have always fomented keen scientific debate. It was not until the early nineteenth century that the cosmic origin of meteorites, i.e., being truly not tellurian, was approved by the scientific community after the late eighteenth-century work of Ernst F. Chladni (1794). This implied for the first time that there are other smaller bodies in the sky besides the Moon. After this, several other lively debates followed on controversial findings and hypotheses around the role of meteorites in the universe and for the evolutionary course of life on Earth, often in connection with the profound difficulties to approach this subject in an adequate scientific way. Principally the different types of meteorites (asteroids, meteors, etc.) can be viewed as a most extreme or exotic substrate, habitat, and transport mode of chemicals and possibly even of cell-based life forms for several reasons: (i) They have experienced a remarkable history since their origin as condensates from the Solar Nebula, more or less metamorphosed or molten fragments of asteroids, or rocks from Mars or our Moon. (ii) The meteorites have been exposed to multiple extreme conditions ranging from milliseconds to billions of years duration when traveling through the interplanetary space, until they fell down on an astronomical body like Earth. (iii) Once on Earth, the meteorites get exposed to different weathering conditions, which often makes it a challenge to retrieve their former history in an unambiguous way.</p>},
  author       = {Lee, Natuschka N. and Fritz, Jörg and Fries, Marc D. and Gil, Jose F. and Beck, Andreas and Pellinen-Wannberg, Asta and Schmitz, Birger and Steele, Andrew and Hofmann, Beda A.},
  isbn         = {9783319483276},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  pages        = {283--325},
  publisher    = {Springer International Publishing},
  series       = {Adaption of Microbial Life to Environmental Extremes},
  title        = {The extreme biology of meteorites : Their role in understanding the origin and distribution of life on earth and in the universe},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48327-6_11},
  year         = {2017},
}