26 September 2013 Perchlorates are compatible with life on Earth: Why not Mars?
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Abstract
Perchlorates have been found on the surface of Mars. Since they are strongly oxidizing, it is important to discuss how this fact is reflected both on the existence of organic compounds on the surface of Mars and possibly life. We have previously reported that perchlorates, although strongly oxidizing, do not destroy some amino acids, such as glycine and alanine, among others, and also spare other classes of organic compounds. Others have found that perchlorates are utilized by bacteria and Archaea as energy sources. Particularly important are the findings about Archaea, since they show a combination of a biotic and abiotic processing of perchlorates, which implies ancient origins of these pathways, which may have been typical on prebiotic Earth. There are also numerous reports of the presence of organohalogen compounds on Earth which are made by natural sources or living organisms. Such compounds may be simple, such as chloromethane, or very complicated. They are utilized or produced by living organisms on Earth. Significantly, some such compounds are extremely stable to high temperatures, over 400oC, which should be taken into account for the chemical analyses on Mars. Finally, organohalogen compounds have been also detected on the meteorites. This combined evidence indicates that eventual finding of the organohalogen compounds on Mars is expected, and that the presence of the strongly oxidizing perchlorates does not rule out life on Mars.
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Vera M. Kolb, Vera M. Kolb, Richard Hoover, Richard Hoover, } "Perchlorates are compatible with life on Earth: Why not Mars?", Proc. SPIE 8865, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XVI, 886504 (26 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2029402; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2029402
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