A NASA scientist says he's discovered alien life, in the form of microscopic fossils, embedded in meteorites.
Astrobiologist Richard Hoover of the Marshall Space Flight Center claims to have found the remains of something very like cyanobacteria - also known as blue-green algae or pond scum - buried inside three different meteorites.
Some look very similar to a terrestrial bacterium called Titanospirillum velox - but Hoover claims that tests show no evidence that the 'fossils' were caused by contamination from Earth organisms.
"The implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets," says Hoover.
Hoover cites the lack of nitrogen in the structures as evidence that they are indeed evidence of alien life.
"Nitrogen is not detected in ancient biological materials such as fossil insects in Miocene Amber; Cambrian Trilobites from the Wheeler Shale or cyanobacterial filaments from Karelia," he writes.
"Consequently the absence of nitrogen in the cyanobacterial filaments detected in the CI1 carbonaceous meteorites indicates that the filaments represent the remains of extraterrestrial life forms that grew on the parent bodies of the meteorites when liquid water was present, long before the meteorites entered the Earth’s atmosphere."
It's not the first time that a scientist has claimed to have found fossils in a meteorite. In 1996, NASA scientists said they'd identified fossilized microbes in a meteorite believed to have originated on Mars. But that evidence was widely disputed - as, no doubt, these latest claims will be.
The research appears in the Journal of Cosmology, which has invited 100 other scientists to comment over the coming days.