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"The fact that she pointed out these structures is a great contribution to the field," says Penelope Boston, a geomicrobiologist at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. "Along with the recent reports of methane and organics on Mars, her findings add an intriguing piece to the puzzle of a possible history for life on our neighboring planet."
"I've seen many papers that say 'Look, here's a pile of dirt on Mars, and here's a pile of dirt on Earth,'" says Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center and an associate editor of the journal Astrobiology. "And because they look the same, the same mechanism must have made each pile on the two planets.'"
McKay adds: "That's an easy argument to make, and it's typically not very convincing. However, Noffke's paper is the most carefully done analysis of the sort that I've seen, which is why it's the first of its kind published in Astrobiology."
In her paper, she also describes alternative processes through which these could have formed. For instance, the chips, pits and cracks could be the product of erosion by salt, water, or wind.
"But if the Martian structures aren't of biological origin," Noffke says, "then the similarities in morphology, but also in distribution patterns with regards to MISS on Earth would be an extraordinary coincidence."
Research by Old Dominion University geobiologist Nora Noffke gained national attention for discovering the earliest evidence of life - life that could exist (or have existed) on Mars.
This is just to suppress the internet stories of the Mars Coffin.