- Early Earth may have had too much water for life to take hold.
- Conditions for life may have been better on Mars, which had dry spots.
- Cycles of water and drying may have been needed to give the molecular building blocks for life a chemical toehold.
Given the same raw materials, Mars would have been a better host for life to arise than Earth, which some scientists believe was too flooded for the chemistry of life to gain a toehold.
Without at least occasional dry land, the chemistry needed to get life started doesn't work very well because the molecules to support genetics, such as RNA, are chemically unstable in many ways, particularly in water.
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That raises a problem, because life, at least as we know it today, seems to require water.
"How is it possible that the chemicals that we now have supporting modern life, which is so unstable in water, could have arisen in water?" biochemist Steven Benner, head of the Foundation For Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainsville, Florida, told Discovery News.