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    Life Might Have Come To Earth From Mars

    Monday, July 8, 2019 Last Updated 2019-10-23T17:35:33Z
    Meteors blaze across the night sky or surprise us in broad daylight. These little fragments of asteroid or comet debris usually burn up in the atmosphere.

    If they do make it to the ground, they’re called meteorites.In the 1980s, after the Viking missions to Mars, scientists were surprised to find that some meteorites apparently came here from the Red Planet.

    Today, NASA is pretty sure that they’ve got at least 124 chunks of Martian real estate on file.

    The Mars meteorites appear to be volcanic rock, and Mars does host the biggest known volcanoes in the solar system.

    However, not even the biggest eruption at Olympus Mons could have blown these rocks to Earth.

    After a lot of detective work, some experts think that an impact ejected these 4.5-billion-year-old pieces of lava into space some 15 million years ago.

    They reached Earth about 13,000 years ago. Some of them show fossils, or at least proof that the rock formed in water that might once have hosted life.

    That sounds unlikely, since these rocks used to be lava, but life finds a way. Today at Yellowstone, tiny organisms called extremophiles live in hot springs and in some of the rocks there.

    Tough little supervolcano-dwelling creatures like these could possibly survive the extremely harsh conditions on Mars.

    They could even live through an impact, if they were far enough inside a big rock slab. As for the fiery fall to Earth, scientists have done experiments that show endoliths would probably need only about 5 centimeters (2 in) of rock for a heat shield.

    Of course, life on Earth is about four billion years old, and these Martian tourists are recent arrivals.

    But we haven’t found all the meteorites. These definitely got here, so other Martian meteorites could also have landed back when Earth was very young.

    Even if they didn’t bring us life-forms, Martian meteorites might have brought us the minerals needed to jump-start life on Earth.


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