A theory outlined by Prof Steven Benner concludes life couldn't have originated under these conditions because borate and molybdate, two crucial catalysts to the formation of RNA, would have been extremely rare.
Borate minerals help simple organic molecules form carbohydrate rings, and molybdenum then rearranges these rings to form ribose, a crucial building block of RNA. "What’s quite clear is that boron, as an element, is quite scarce in Earth’s crust," Prof Benner says, “but Mars has been drier than Earth and more oxidising, so if Earth is not suitable for the chemistry, Mars might be."
An extremophile bacteria surviving the trip to Earth inside a meteorite isn't as far-fetched as it may seem. "We spend much time on 'planetary protection' so that a launch to Mars does not carry Earth bacteria to forward contaminate Mars, but we find that many bacteria (like radiodurans) can survive the trip, especially if tucked inside of the craft (or, by analogy, within the meteorite)".
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