Two astrobiologists from the Technische Universität in Berlin have claimed that organic compounds discovered by NASA’s rover on Mars could be a sign of ancient life on Mars. Dr Jacob Heinz and Professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch from Technische Universität said thiophenes found by Curiosity on Mars appeared there through biological processes. The two researchers published their study in the journal Astrobiology.
According to their study, the thiophenes could have appeared on Mars due to a sulfate reduction process caused by bacteria that lived on the Red Planet when it was warmer and wetter. Researchers also allege that thiophenes may have been broken down by bacteria. “We identified several biological pathways for thiophenes that seem more likely than chemical ones, but we still need proof”, said Dirk Schulze-Makuch.
Thiophenes are made of two bio-essential elements carbon and sulfur and can be found on Earth in coal, crude oil, and white truffles.
Scientists do not exclude that they could have appeared on Mars as a result of chemical reaction caused by meteors hitting the Red Planet. However, researchers say that the biological scenario is more likely.