organic matter in meteorites

A series of eminent chemists, including Berzelius, Wöhler and Berthelot, first identified the presence of organic materials in carbonaceous chondrites in the mid-nineteenth century. Wöhler's premature declaration that the substances he had identified were the products of extraterrestrial life seemed to be confirmed by the analysis by S. Cloëz of samples from the Orgueil meteorite which revealed the presence of substances analogous to lignite. However, hopes of discovering actual living matter in meteorites were dashed by the experiments of Pasteur and later scientists which found no evidence of extant microorganisms.