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Studies of Life on Earth are Important for Mars ExplorationThe search for evidence of the early martian environment and a martian biosphere is benefitted by diverse studies of life on Earth. Most fundamentally, origin-of-life research highlights the challenge in formulating a rigorous definition of life. Because such definitions typically list several of life's most basic properties, they also help to define those observable features that distinguish life and thus might be sought through telescopes, spacecraft, and analyses of extraterrestrial samples. Studies of prebiotic chemistry also help by defining the range of environments and processes that sustain prebiotic organic synthesis. These studies might indicate if and where prebiotic processes occur today on Earth and elsewhere. Such studies should also help to identify which localities are good candidates for the origin of life. A better understanding of the most fundamental principles by which molecules are assembled into living systems will help us to appreciate possible alternatives to the path followed by life on Earth. These perspectives will sharpen our ability to recognize exotic life and/or those environments that can sustain it.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
DesMarais, D. J.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: Workshop on the Issue Martian Meteorites: Where do we Stand and Where are we Going?
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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