High-temperature life without photosynthesis as a model for Mars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Discoveries in biology and developments in geochemistry over the past two decades have lead to a radical revision of concepts relating to the upper temperature at which life thrives, the genetic relationships among all life on Earth, links between organic and inorganic compounds in geologic processes, and the geochemical supply of metabolic energy. It is now apparent that given a source of geochemical energy, in the form of a mixture of compounds that is far from thermodynamic equilibrium, microorganisms can take advantage of the energy and thrive without the need for photosynthesis as a means of primary productivity. This means that life can exist in the subsurface of a planet such as Mars without necessarily exhibiting a surface expression. Theoretical calculations quantify the geochemically provided metabolic energy available to hyperthermophilic organisms in submarine hydrothermal systems on the Earth, and help to explain the enormous biological productivity of these systems. Efforts to place these models in the context of the early Earth reveal that substantial geochemical energy would have been available and that organic synthesis would have been thermodynamically favored as hydrothermal fluids mix with seawater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23687-23694
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume102
Issue numberE10
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Mars
photosynthesis
Photosynthesis
mars
Earth (planet)
Temperature
Productivity
Planets
energy
Synthetic Chemistry Techniques
Inorganic compounds
productivity
Geochemistry
Seawater
Thermodynamics
Organic compounds
Microorganisms
inorganic compounds
inorganic compound
early Earth

Keywords

  • Carbosilane
  • CID
  • Complexes
  • Dendrimer
  • ESI-FTICR
  • MALDI-TOF
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization
  • Peptides
  • Polymers
  • PSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

High-temperature life without photosynthesis as a model for Mars. / Shock, Everett.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets, Vol. 102, No. E10, 1997, p. 23687-23694.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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