Hey Space Placers!
The following press release is being provided in its' entirety so you can decide for yourself what to think of it.
My own comment is that I believe that "Life always finds a way" - and that the Universe is in my opinion teeming with life. There are PLENTY of planets being provided with a stable energy source by their stars and there is absolutely no reason to believe that we are unique on this planet compared to the whole Universe. As was said in the movie "Contact"- "It would be a terrible waste of space".
The idea of life on Earth being primed or even started due to meteorites and comets delivering the necessary ingredients to do so is a well discussed theory. I have a meteorite in my collection that at last count had 92 amino acids - the necessary building block proteins for life as we know it - only 12 of which are known on Earth.
Is it possible that an ancient Mars delivered the ingredients for life to begin on Earth via meteorites? Absolutely. Is it proven? Not by a long shot. But this is an intriguing bit of research - see for yourself.
ISSUED BY THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF GEOCHEMISTRY PRESS OFFICE ON BEHALF OF THE GOLDSCHMIDT CONFERENCE IN FLORENCE, ITALY
New evidence has emerged which supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.
Professor Steven Benner will tell geochemists gathering today (Thursday, 29 August) at the annual Goldschmidt conference that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available on the surface of Mars and not on Earth. “In addition,” said Professor Benner “recent studies show that these conditions, suitable for the origin of life, may still exist on Mars.”
“It’s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidized that it is able to influence how early life formed,” explains Professor Benner, from the Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in the USA. “This form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because three billion years ago the surface of the Earth had very little oxygen, but Mars did. It’s yet another piece of evidence which makes it more likely life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite, rather than starting on this planet.”
The research Professor Benner will present at the Goldschmidt conference tackles two of the paradoxes which make it difficult for scientists to understand how life could have started on Earth.
The first is dubbed by Professor Benner as the ‘tar paradox.’ All living things are made of organic matter, but if you add energy such as heat or light to organic molecules and leave them to themselves, they don’t create life. Instead, they turn into something more like tar, oil or asphalt.
“Certain elements seem able to control the propensity of organic materials to turn into tar, particularly boron and molybdenum, so we believe that minerals containing both were fundamental to life first starting,” says Professor Benner. “Analysis of a Martian meteorite recently showed that there was boron on Mars; we now believe that the oxidized form of molybdenum was there too.”
The second paradox is that life would have struggled to start on the early Earth because it was likely to have been totally covered by water. Not only would this have prevented sufficient concentrations of boron forming -- it’s currently only found in very dry places like Death Valley -- but water is corrosive to RNA, which scientists believe was the first genetic molecule to appear. Although there was water on Mars, it covered much smaller areas than on early Earth.
“The evidence seems to be building that we are actually all Martians; that life started on Mars and came to Earth on a rock,” says Professor Benner. “It’s lucky that we ended up here nevertheless, as certainly Earth has been the better of the two planets for sustaining life. If our hypothetical Martian ancestors had remained on Mars, there might not have been a story to tell.”
Sky Guy in VA