Oil on Mars
|Source: Mars Stock Image|
Where There Is Oil, There Could be Life
Two astrobiologists have found the basic elements of oil on Mars. Jacob Heinz of Berlin's Technische Universität and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University in Saint Louis have found organic compounds called "thiophenes" that are present in crude oil and coal on Earth. The thiophenes were discovered in dried mud that NASA's Curiosity Rover dug up in Mars' Gale Crater. This is a remarkable scientific discovery that raises the intriguing question, once again, about life existing on Mars.
Oil and Life
Where there is oil, there many times is life. The issue now confronting the scientists is how the thiophenes on Mars were created. Most often the creation of thiophenes is a "biotic" process that involves living elements. If that is the case, according to scientist Schulze-Makuch, "there was early life on Mars....and there could be extant life on Mars today."
NASA's Curiosity Rover
NASA's Curiosity Rover has been on the ground on Mars for eight years. It digs up soil, analyzes it and then beams the raw data back to Earth. This new discovery by the two astrobiologists is from dirt they analyzed from Curiosity. Heinz and Schulze-Makuch believe the origin of the thiophenes is biological rather than "abiotic" and chemical from such an event as a meteorite crash. They now are working to prove their theory that this is another example of life in space. Recently, Harvard scientists found proteins on a meteorite, suggesting that life can evolve from away from the Earth and in the vastness of Space.