April 5, 2024 at 12:31 pm

Could Life In Our Solar System Have Been Born On Mars?

by Trisha Leigh

Just about every field of study in science has come a long, long way very quickly – we know so much more about pretty much everything than we did even a decade ago.

The origins of the universe, though, still contains more than a few mysteries. One of those is where life was born in our universe – but a recent study suggests we might be able to figure that out, too.

The research reveals that 4.5 billion years ago, the organic molecules that enabled life in our solar system were present on Mars. At that time, Mars had more hospitable conditions for life even than Earth.

Earth and Mars are two of the four rocky planets that, along with the asteroid belt, make up the inner Solar System. Shortly after they formed, they were bombarded with asteroids.

Source: Shutterstock

The rocks that smashed into Earth are now on the interior of the planet, but on Mars, those very first asteroids and meteorites are still right where they landed.

So, the authors on this study analyzed 31 Martian meteorites in order to try to learn more about their origins. One thing they were looking for was whether or not those projectiles carried any of the organic material that could have allowed the development of life.

They used ultrahigh precision chromium isotope measurements and identified the meteorites as carbonaceous chondrites from the outer Solar System. These rocks are prevalent on Mars, and ice accounts for 10% of their mass, which allowed researchers to conclude that they brought enough water to Mars to cover the entire planet in around 10007 feet of water.

Carbonaceous chondrites from the outer Solar System are known to have transported organic molecules like animo acids to the inner Solar System; these compounds are essential for the formation of DNA, explains study author Martin Bizzarro.

“At this time, Mars was bombarded with asteroids filled with ice. It happened in the first 100 million years of the planet’s evolution. Another interesting angle is that the asteroids also carried organic molecules that are biologically important for life.”

Source: Shutterstock

Things weren’t so hospitable on Earth, apparently.

“After this period, something catastrophic happened for potential life on Earth. It is believed that there was a gigantic collision between the Earth and another Mars-sized planet. It was an energetic collision that formed the Earth-Moon system and, at the same time, wiped out all the potential life on Earth.”

During those formative years of the inner Solar System, life had a better chance on Mars.

I’m sure it won’t be long before they manage to tell us exactly when and why that eventually changed.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!