In 2002, researchers from the Cluster of Excellence Origin and Structure with the Universe at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen began looking at fossil remnants of iron-eating bacteria found on the ocean floor.
Nuclear astrophysicist Shawn Bishop
What the scientist found was
Iron 60 is a rare element that only forms inside a
The bacteria of the species “magnetotactic” consume iron, concentrating it to forge microscopic chains which grow at a known rate. Dating of the
Using sediment core samples from the Pacific Ocean dating between 1.7 and 3.3 million years ago, the researchers analyzed samples at 100,000 year intervals.
Using ultra sensitive mass spectrometry, the researchers
After the bacteria die, the crystal structures remain preserved in mud and become pebble like rocks known as manganese nodules.
The total energy output of a supernova over the course of two weeks amounts to the
Benitez, Narcisco; Maiz-Apellaniz, Jesus; Canelles, Matilde. (2002) “Evidence for Nearby Supernova Explosions,” Physical Review Letters88, letter 081101.
Bishop, Shawn and Egli, R. (2011) “Discovery Prospects for a Supernova Signature of Biogenic Origin,” Icarus 212: 960-962.
Blakemore, Richard. (1975) “Magnetotactic Bacteria,” Science 190(4212): 377-379.
Knie, K. et al. (2004) “60Fe Anomaly in a Deep-Sea Manganese Crust and Implications for a Nearby Supernova Source,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 171103.
Seeger, P. A., Fowler, W.A., Clayton, D. D. (1965) “Nucleosynthesis of heavy elements by neutron capture,” The Astrophysical Journal Supplement 11: 121–166.