DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 11. Mars Atmosphere IV
Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Monday, October 12, 1998, 3:20-4:10pm, Madison Ballroom C

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[11.05] The Biological Potential of Mars, the Early Earth, and Europa

B. M. Jakosky (Univ. of Colorado), E. L. Shock (Washington Univ. at St. Louis)

The potential biomass that could have existed on Mars is constrained by the total amount of energy available to construct it. From an inventory of the available geochemical sources of energy, we estimate that, from the time of the onset of the visible geologic record 4 b.y. ago to the present, as much as 20 g/cm2 of biota could have been constructed. This is the same amount that could have been constructed from similar sources on the early Earth in only 100 m.y. This indicates that there likely was sufficient energy available to support an origin of life on Mars, but not sufficient energy to create a ubiquitous and lush biosphere. Similar calculations for Europa suggest that even less geochemical energy would have been available there.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jakosky@argyre.colorado.edu

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