Probing the history of the planet reveals that there was a lot of water, but also amino acids and therefore DNA and RNA
It is known as the Red Planet, but in the beginning it was blue because it was covered in water. Since this discovery, new studies and insights have continued, which have led to various controversies about the real amount of water on the planet. Thanks to a recent study by the University of Copenhagen, it has been concluded that on the red/blue planet – around 4.5 billion years ago – there was enough water to cover its entire surface, with an ocean as deep as 300 meters.
This evidence leads to another important assumption: “At that time Mars was being bombarded by ice-filled asteroids. It happened in the first 100 million years of the planet’s evolution. Another interesting aspect is that the asteroids also carried biologically important organic molecules for life,” explains one of the authors, Professor Martin Bizzarro of the Center for Star and Planet Formation, Globe Institute and University of Copenhagen
In addition to water, icy asteroids also brought biologically relevant molecules such as amino acids to the Red Planet . Amino acids are used when DNA and RNA form the building blocks that contain everything a cell needs. So when Mars was a young planet, it was bombarded by icy asteroids that brought water and organic molecules necessary for the birth of life . The researchers therefore have irrefutable proof that the conditions that allowed the emergence of life were present on Mars long before Earth .
All this knowledge about the past life of Mars is possible thanks to one of its peculiar characteristics: unlike the Earth, plate tectonics are not present on Mars and the surface of the planet retains a trace of what happened in the first 500 million years history of our solar system: thanks to a billion-year-old meteorite, researchers have managed to investigate its past.
- The first life in our solar system may have been on Mars. (healthsciences.ku.dk)
- Late delivery of exotic chromium to the crust of Mars by water-rich carbonaceous asteroids. (science.org)