GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A researcher at the Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology recently made a case for the idea that life on Earth was brought to the planet by a meteorite from Mars.
The Institute’s founder, Steven Benner, presented the findings at the Goldschmidt Meeting, a geochemistry conference held Thursday in Italy.
According to Space.com, his theory revolves around the element molybdenum, which reportedly played a large role in the creation of life on Earth.
“It’s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidized that it is able to influence how early life formed,” Benner said in a statement obtained by the science website. “This form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because 3 billion years ago, the surface of the Earth had very little oxygen, but Mars did.”
He added, “It’s yet another piece of evidence which makes it more likely life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite, rather than starting on this planet.”
Benner additionally theorized that it would have been easier for those first building blocks of life to form on Mars, since the Earth was likely covered in water – which he said creates a less than ideal environment for the formation of essential elements – and Mars had many dry regions.
He asserted that the phenomenon that brought life to Earth was fortunate for the continued existence of the human race.
“It’s lucky that we ended up here … as certainly Earth has been the better of the two planets for sustaining life,” Benner was quoted as saying by Space.com. “If our hypothetical Martian ancestors had remained on Mars, there might not have been a story to tell.”