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EXPERT PITCH: WVU expert can comment on ‘building blocks of life’ found on Mars

Kathleen Benison wearing a red top and gold earrings

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On Thursday, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity discovered 3-billion-year-old organic compounds. According to West Virginia University professor of geology Kathleen Benison, the newly discovered organics provide “a real possibility” of future life on Mars.

Kathleen Benison
WVU Professor of Geology
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

“The recent discovery of organic sulfur compounds and hydrocarbons in ancient lake deposits on Mars is truly exciting. While not unequivocal evidence of life, these chemicals may be fingerprints of biological activity. These results signal that the scientific community is looking in the right place for signs of life on Mars, that is, in sedimentary rocks deposited in lakes. I think that these findings will redouble the efforts to study the geology and geochemistry of Martian lake deposits. This detection of organic compounds on Mars makes the concept of life on Mars a very real possibility.” 

Kathleen Benison audio file (0:36)

Contact information: 989.954.0791 (mobile)

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.



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