Building blocks of LIFE arrived on Mars after asteroids crashed into the red planet and flourished thanks to its thick atmosphere

Asteroids that crashed into Mars may have brought with them the building blocks needed for life. 

A new study has found 'key ingredients for life' were transported to the red planet millions of years ago when the space rocks landed on it. 

Mars may have had an atmosphere made of hydrogen at the time and if this was the case, asteroids would likely have brought nitrogen to the planet - an essential element for many biological molecules, according to Daily Mail.

It involved creating various mixtures in flasks designed to imitate early asteroid impacts on Mars. 

They combined hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide and analysed the levels of nitrate in them with infra-red analysis. 

Nitrates were the key to the investigation as they were found on the surface of Mars by the Curiosity rover and are essential for life. 

Dr Navarro-González said: 'The big surprise was that the yield of nitrate increased when hydrogen was included in the laser-shocked experiments that simulated asteroid impacts.

'This was counter-intuitive as hydrogen leads to an oxygen-deficient environment while the formation of nitrate requires oxygen.

'However, the presence of hydrogen led to a faster cooling of the shock-heated gas, trapping nitric oxide, the precursor of nitrate, at elevated temperatures where its yield was higher.

A dense layer of gases is needed to maintain any form of life, with Earth being the only planet with an atmosphere conducive to sustaining lifeforms. 

Mars currently has an incredible thin atmosphere which does not protect to surface from cosmic radiation. 

This has led to a long-standing school of thought that Mars is barren but evidence is emerging to the contrary.  

Study co-author Jennifer Stern said: 'If you have a link between two things that are good for habitability – a potentially warmer climate with liquid water on the surface and an increase in the production of nitrates, which are necessary for life – it's very exciting.

'The results of this study suggest that these two things, which are important for life, fit together and one enhances the presence of the other.'

Images from the surface of Mars emerged revealing the presence of mushrooms, a group of scientists claimed in a controversial new study.

It states some images show fungi is growing on the surface of the supposedly barren planet.

Photographic evidence of such flourishing lifeforms, should the discovery be confirmed, would likely revolutionise our understanding of Mars and life outside of Earth.  

 

N.H.Kh