A pair of American and German astrobiologists has found oil on Mars. And where there’s oil, there’s usually life.
Technically speaking, Dirk Schulze‑Makuch and Jacob Heinz didn’t find oil. Rather, they found organic compounds called “thiophenes” that are also present in crude oil, coal, and truffles.
Thiophene molecules include four carbon atoms and a sulfur atom in a ring-like shape. There are lots of ways thiophenes get created. Not all of them are “biotic,” meaning they involve life.