Iron-Sulfur Chemistry on Earth, Mars and Venus: Implications for the origins and evolution of life in alien environments

I will give a review of iron-sulfur chemistry in origins and early evolution of life, starting with the work of Günter Wächtershäuser and discussing the role of this proto-metabolic chemistry in underwater and surface hydrothermal vents. I will then present the cyanosulfidic and carboxysulfitic chemical scenarios developed by the Sutherland group and talk about how this chemistry may help constrain where life can originate on exoplanets and what chemistry to look for in Jezero Crater on Mars. I will conclude with an unusual application of this chemistry to the clouds of Venus. Though it has nothing directly to do with life or its origins, this same chemistry may occur in the clouds of Venus to provide a very different set of products, that may explain two long-standing mysteries about the chemical and optical properties of Venus’s clouds.