by Staff Writers
Florence, Italy (SPX) Sep 03, 2013

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New evidence has emerged which supports the long-debated theory that life on Earth may have started on Mars.

Professor Steven Benner will tell geochemists gathering today (Thursday 29 Aug) at the annual Goldschmidt conference that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available on the surface of Mars and not on Earth. “In addition”, said Professor Benner “recent studies show that these conditions, suitable for the origin of life, may still exist on Mars.”

“It’s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidized that it is able to influence how early life formed,” explains Professor Benner, from The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in the USA.

“This form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because three 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.”

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