Boron Enrichment in Martian Clay

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.

Citation: Stephenson JD, Hallis LJ, Nagashima K, Freeland SJ (2013) Boron Enrichment in Martian Clay. PLoS ONE 8(6): e64624. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064624

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