In the year 1996/1375. A team of researchers found biological molecules in a meteorite that fell from Mars in Antarctica, which made a lot of noise. Some thought the meteorite was a sign of life on Mars, while others thought it was contaminated with terrestrial organisms or non-biological elements.
But now new studies run counter to what researchers previously thought, and it turns out that these molecules did not come into being with extraterrestrial life on Mars. The results of these studies show that the biomaterial inside the rock, called ALH84001, was probably formed by the reaction between water and minerals beneath the surface of Mars.
Biomaterials are normally produced in the presence of living organisms, but they are also produced in non-biological processes and by non-living agents. There are now countless theories about how life is formed, and most researchers consider the existence of non-living biomaterials to be one of the essential factors for the beginning of life.
These biomolecules could be the raw materials for the formation of life on Mars. But the existence of life on Mars’ past remains unknown. The team is currently studying the effect of Martian water on changing Martian minerals and the formation of biomolecules in the meteorite.
By spectroscopy and microscopic imaging, the team found that small silver particles inside the meteorite reacted with water.
The process of formation of non-living biological molecules
In these samples, signs of serpentine and carbonation were identified, which explained the formation of these biological substances. By-products of these chemical processes occur with the reaction of groundwater and minerals under certain conditions that cause the deformation of minerals and the production of by-products.
In addition to these by-products, the researchers found several other complex biomolecules. Given the identification of serpentine and carbonate processes in the earth, these biomolecules may have evolved alongside these processes.
In addition, the presence of large amounts of hydrogen in the meteorite indicates that this process originated on Mars and did not form after it hit the Earth with microbes and terrestrial matter. Of course, these notes are not a study that explains how biological molecules formed on Mars without life. Another group of researchers studied the Ticent meteorite, another Martian meteorite, and found that about 600 million years ago complex biomolecules formed by the reaction of water and minerals.
It should also be noted that the ALH84001 meteorite is one of the oldest Martian meteorites found on Earth. Despite these new findings and other discoveries about Martian biomolecules, it is possible that inanimate processes have produced biomaterials throughout the planet.
This study does not provide new information about the existence of life on Mars, but identifying the origin of inanimate chemical processes and the formation of biological compounds is one of the most important steps in understanding the existence of life on Mars.