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We may all be Martians.

Evidence is building that Earth life originated on Mars and was brought to this planet aboard a meteorite, said biochemist Steven Benner of The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in Florida.

According to Space.com, Dr. Benner bases his conclusions on an assessment of the necessity of certain forms of oxidized molybdenum for the earliest life forms to emerge from the primal muck, of whichever planet. He further explains:
It’s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidized that it is able to influence how early life formed," Benner said in a statement. "This form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because 3 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.

Dr. Benner presented his research this week in Florence, Italy, at the annual Goldschmidt geochemistry conference. His work is even more intriguing when viewed with other recent findings about another chemical deemed essential to the initial formation of the first lifeforms, phosphate. According to recently announced research by planetary geochemist Christopher Adcock at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, at the time the first lifeforms emerged, Mars was warmer and wet with atmospheric oxygen, and it's waters bore phosphate levels double what was available at that time in Earth's waters.

The experimental findings suggest phosphate is released as much as 45 times faster during interactions between water and rock on Mars than on Earth. All in all, phosphate concentrations in wet environments on early Mars may have been twice those of early Earth.

"It's exciting whenever you find evidence that has positive implications for the possibility of life outside of Earth," Adcock said.

Notwithstanding all of the foregoing, it seems a bit sensational to suggest so strongly that Earth life may have originated on Mars. The evidence certainly supports a hypothesis of the possibility, but hardly seems preponderant, much less conclusive. So, for now, I'm going to postpone my claim of Martian citizenship and keep my antennae hidden.

For all my On Mars diaries and everything Mars on Daily Kos, visit Kossacks on Mars.

Originally posted to Kossacks on Mars on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 01:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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