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On the possibility of life on early MarsPrebiotic reactants, liquid water, and temperatures low enough for organic compounds to be stable are requirements for the origination of life as we know it. Prebiotic reactants and sufficiently low temperatures were present on Mars before liquid water vanished. Early in this time period, however, large planetesimal impacts may have periodically sterilized Mars, pyrolyzed organic compounds, and interrupted chemical origination of life. However, the calculated time interval between such impacts on Mars was larger just before liquid water vanished 3.8 Gyr (billion years) ago than it was on earth just before life originated. Therefore, there should have been sufficient time for life to originate on Mars. Ideal sites to search for microfossils are in the heavily cratered terrain of Upper Noachian age. Craters and channels in this terrain may have been the sites of ancient lakes and streams that could have provided habitats for the first microorganisms.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Oberbeck, V. R.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Fogleman, G.
(SETI Institute Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 14, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1990
Subject Category
Space Biology
Meeting Information
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference(Houston, TX)
Accession Number
Distribution Limits

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