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Boron enrichment in martian clay.

Stephenson JD, Hallis LJ, Nagashima K, Freeland SJ - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object.This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key component of RNA, could have existed on Mars since the formation of early clay deposits, contemporary to the emergence of life on Earth.Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth's earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America. jds@ifa.hawaii.edu

ABSTRACT
We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object. This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key component of RNA, could have existed on Mars since the formation of early clay deposits, contemporary to the emergence of life on Earth. Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth's earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration.

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Boron abundance values measured in this study compared with previously published values.Comparison data was from chondrite meteorite phases, martian meteorite primary and alteration phases (including clays), terrestrial clays and coals. Measured data from the Sutter’s Mill chondrite and from martian meteorite MIL 090030 show similar or reduced boron concentrations to their previously measured equivalents. The degree of boron enrichment in MIL 090030 clay data is most closely comparable to terrestrial clays, it is highly enriched compared to other phases in the same meteorite and to previously measured martian clays. Error bars are 2σ.
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pone-0064624-g001: Boron abundance values measured in this study compared with previously published values.Comparison data was from chondrite meteorite phases, martian meteorite primary and alteration phases (including clays), terrestrial clays and coals. Measured data from the Sutter’s Mill chondrite and from martian meteorite MIL 090030 show similar or reduced boron concentrations to their previously measured equivalents. The degree of boron enrichment in MIL 090030 clay data is most closely comparable to terrestrial clays, it is highly enriched compared to other phases in the same meteorite and to previously measured martian clays. Error bars are 2σ.

Mentions: Clays have long been proposed as excellent locations for prebiotic catalysis [7], [8], polymerization [9], [10], and compartmentalization [11] because of their ability to absorb and protect necessary reactants [12]. These properties are evident in the popularity of clays as catalysts within industry [13]. Boron is commonly concentrated as borate (BO33− or BO43−) in terrestrial clays and organic-rich sediments (∼80–800 ppm), but it has never been found at concentrations above 20ppm in any extraterrestrial source (Figure 1, Table S1). Here we use secondary ion mass spectrometry to show that Earth-like boron concentrations exist in martian clay.


Boron enrichment in martian clay.

Stephenson JD, Hallis LJ, Nagashima K, Freeland SJ - PLoS ONE (2013)

Boron abundance values measured in this study compared with previously published values.Comparison data was from chondrite meteorite phases, martian meteorite primary and alteration phases (including clays), terrestrial clays and coals. Measured data from the Sutter’s Mill chondrite and from martian meteorite MIL 090030 show similar or reduced boron concentrations to their previously measured equivalents. The degree of boron enrichment in MIL 090030 clay data is most closely comparable to terrestrial clays, it is highly enriched compared to other phases in the same meteorite and to previously measured martian clays. Error bars are 2σ.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3675118&req=5

pone-0064624-g001: Boron abundance values measured in this study compared with previously published values.Comparison data was from chondrite meteorite phases, martian meteorite primary and alteration phases (including clays), terrestrial clays and coals. Measured data from the Sutter’s Mill chondrite and from martian meteorite MIL 090030 show similar or reduced boron concentrations to their previously measured equivalents. The degree of boron enrichment in MIL 090030 clay data is most closely comparable to terrestrial clays, it is highly enriched compared to other phases in the same meteorite and to previously measured martian clays. Error bars are 2σ.
Mentions: Clays have long been proposed as excellent locations for prebiotic catalysis [7], [8], polymerization [9], [10], and compartmentalization [11] because of their ability to absorb and protect necessary reactants [12]. These properties are evident in the popularity of clays as catalysts within industry [13]. Boron is commonly concentrated as borate (BO33− or BO43−) in terrestrial clays and organic-rich sediments (∼80–800 ppm), but it has never been found at concentrations above 20ppm in any extraterrestrial source (Figure 1, Table S1). Here we use secondary ion mass spectrometry to show that Earth-like boron concentrations exist in martian clay.

Bottom Line: We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object.This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key component of RNA, could have existed on Mars since the formation of early clay deposits, contemporary to the emergence of life on Earth.Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth's earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America. jds@ifa.hawaii.edu

ABSTRACT
We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object. This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key component of RNA, could have existed on Mars since the formation of early clay deposits, contemporary to the emergence of life on Earth. Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth's earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus