Study Suggests Earth Life Began on Mars
Building blocks of life may have arrived via meteorite: scientist
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Aug 29, 2013 4:15 AM CDT
This image provided by NASA shows a panoramic view from NASA's Mars Exploration rover Opportunity of "Solander Point."   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – Were our earliest ancestors Martians? A new study suggests that all life on Earth may have originated on the Red Planet, the BBC reports. That's because Mars would have had plenty of the minerals that are best at forging RNA, which is one of the key components of life and is believed to have predated DNA. On Earth, those minerals would have dissolved into the ocean (water is "corrosive" to RNA, adds Space.com). But life could have formed on Mars, then headed here on meteorites, suggests US scientist Steven Benner; he's not the first to propose such a theory, the BBC notes.

The investigation centers on how atoms were arranged to form RNA, DNA, and proteins. Benner says minerals containing the elements boron and an oxidized form of molybdenum were central to the process—but at the time, Earth was probably incapable of supporting enough of such minerals. He tells Space.com that analysis of a Martian meteorite revealed the presence of boron on Mars, and "we now believe that the oxidized form of molybdenum was there, too." As such, "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 Benner. "It’s lucky that we ended up here, nevertheless—as certainly Earth has been the better of the two planets for sustaining life." Click for more on how nobody really wants to head back there.

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YouAreSOSmart
Aug 29, 2013 10:41 PM CDT
Why would anyone assume that you need B and/or Mo to synthesize RNA? Once you have a lipid membrane conferring a proton gradient combined with an energy source such as a thermal vent, there is no longer a need for these inorganic catalysts.
iq145
Aug 29, 2013 9:18 PM CDT
It's lucky we ended up here? If meteors hit Mars and sent fragments flying about, they would've landed on EVERY planet around... not just Earth. The difference here (if the theory is correct), Earth is the only planet where they boron and molybdenum "took". Also, are the claiming the elements boron and an oxidized form of molybdenum can ONLY have come from Mars?
sickdaddy
Aug 29, 2013 8:36 PM CDT
This is half true. It wasn't from mars, but another planet far away. A rock broke from that planet. It is now earth.