More Proof That Life On Earth May Have Come From Mars
A new study suggests that the necessary ingredients for life existed on Mars first, back when it was far more hospitable than it is now, and arrived here via a meteorite.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
According to biochemist Steven Benner of Florida's Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology, life as we know it may have traveled here courtesy of a Martian meteorite. He bases his theory on what Mars and Earth were like three billion years ago: Mars had more oxygen, which allowed for the creation of a highly-oxidized form of molybdenum that may have played a significant role in the development of life. It also was dry enough to allow boron, another important role-playing element, to form, whereas Earth was probably covered completely by water at the time. Benner presented his findings this week at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Florence.
What's the Big Idea?
Scientists have long speculated that life, in the form of extra-tough microbes, may have arrived here via a meteorite or other space object. Another factor that favors Benner's theory of Mars as the origin is simple orbital dynamics, which "show that it's much easier for rocks to travel from Mars to Earth than the other way around." It's a good thing those microbes left when they did, he says: "If our hypothetical Martian ancestors had remained on Mars, there might not have been a story to tell."
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