Recently in the modern era, there has been a debate on the creation of life. Many argue for the side of creationism, that life was created by God. Others argue that life was created over billions of years on Earth, through small changes. However, there is another option, life came from an alien object from the great unknown.
Minerals containing elements such as boron and molybdenum are key in life forming molecules. Professor Steven Benner, of Harvard University, states that “boron minerals help carbohydrate rings to form from pre-biotic chemicals, and then molybdenum
takes that intermediate molecule and rearranges it to form ribose, and hence RNA.” Professor Steven Benner explains that boron and molybdenum as elements were not readily available in Earth, due to it being unsuitable for the formation of the necessary minerals containing the two important elements. However a neighboring planet by the name of Mars may be the home of life as we know it. Evidence to consider it as the progenitor of life is the amount of oxygen on the planets. Professor Benner explains "It’s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidised that it is able to influence how early life formed. 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.”
Some might question “If life was originally created on Mars, how did it end up on Earth?” Many scientists have come up with a theory for this question, called Panspermia. This theory states that life as we know it was did not originate on our planet, but was transported here from somewhere else in the universe. Arguments that support this theory is the
appearance of life during the bombardment period, where scientists believe that Earth endured a time where it was constantly being hit by meteorites. Others may wonder how life survived the travel from Mars to Earth. To address this question, scientists at the German Aerospace Center, designed an experiment, where they mixed bacterial spores with clay red sandstone, imitation of Mars soil. For the experiment, the scientists placed the soil into a satellite, where the bacterial spores would be exposed to the sun’s UV radiation. After the soil sample was examined, the bacteria were found to still be alive. Another study indicates that bacterial spores would be capable of surviving up to six years in meteorites or comets. So not only is life capable of surviving in faux martian soil, but it can even endure the vacuum of space.
So if life were to have come from outer space, what is the likelihood of life existing on different planets? Sara Seager, a professor at MIT has come up with a revised version of the Drake equation, a mathematical formula to help estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy. Many inputs into the Drake Equation, have shown at minimum ten thousand up to a million civilizations. According to the Drake Equation, there is a high possibility of life existing in our galaxy. There are hundreds of thousands of asteroids, in our solar system alone. The experiments at the German Aerospace Centre have shown the resilience of bacterial spores in space. So, what is the likelihood of life coming from space?
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