Life on Mars: planet once contained plentiful component of life

Credit: ALH84001

The current popularity of Mars is partly due to NASA's Curiosity mission, but Mars has also been making headlines recently because of its potential for life. From recent theories that life may have originated on the planet to ideas about life being present there now, the concept of life on Mars has captivated both scientists and fans of space aliens alike. Now, scientists believe that phosphate, considered a key chemical component for life, may have once been more plentiful on Mars than on ancient Earth.

Phosphate is a basic staple in DNA, so these findings could offer even further proof that Mars once had the potential to sustain life. After studying meteorites believed to originate from the planet, along with scans of Mars' surface, researchers determined that Mars once had nearly five to ten times more phosphate than Earth. Not only that, but the phosphate on Mars was more soluble, meaning that more of it was released into the planet's water. In fact, researchers believe that phosphate dissolved nearly 45 times faster on ancient Mars than on Earth. Considering that theories of life on Earth have been problematic because researchers believe that the phosphate levels were low here and dissolved very slowly (referred to by scientists as "the phosphate problem"), this could further suggest that our earliest pre-evolution ancestors were Martians that stowed away on meteors that later hit Earth.


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