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Free Content The origin of life I: When and where did it begin?

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Abstract:

For decades most scientists assumed that life emerged billions of years ago in a ``primordial soup'' somewhere on the Earth's surface. Evidence is mounting, however, that life may have begun deep beneath the surface, perhaps near a volcanic ocean vent or even inside the hot crust itself. Since there are hints that life's history on Earth extends back through the phase of massive cosmic bombardment, it may be that life started on Mars and came here later, perhaps inside rocks ejected from the Red Planet by large impacts. The traffic of intact rocks between Mars and Earth is now an established fact, and experiments confirm that microbes could survive the rigours of the journey through space if cocooned within such material. Unfortunately, this planetary cross-contamination compromises astrobiologists' hope of finding a second genesis in the solar system.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3184/003685001783239069

Affiliations: Science Review, PO Box 314, St. Albans, Herts AL1 4ZG, UK

Publication date: 2001-02-15

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  • SCIENCE PROGRESS has for over 100 years been a highly regarded review publication in science, technology and medicine. Its objective is to excite the readers' interest in areas with which they may not be fully familiar but which could facilitate their interest, or even activity, in a cognate field. Science Progress commissions world authorities to contribute articles on the most interesting, important and meaningful topics - ranging from cosmology to the environment - and ensures that they are presented for the most effective use of those in both academia and industry.

    Truly, Science Progress publishes an eclectic mix of articles that no library can afford to be without.

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