Carbon and Life
Carbon, it has the atomic symbol C and is number six on the periodic table. Known for being one of the building blocks of life, carbon is the 15th most abundant element on Earth and the fourth in the universe. It is because of the reputation for being a building block of life that gets scientists especially excited when carbon or graphite-like carbon is found in meteorites or other planets. It is the sign that perhaps life existed at one point in time, that maybe there is more out there than just the mankind of planet Earth.
To many it is known by some of its more popular allotropes which are diamond, graphite and amorphous carbon. Carbon graphite can refer to a variety of things in addition to being an alloy of carbon. It could also refer to a mixture of petroleum coke, pitch and graphite. Used in industrial and commercial applications alike, carbon graphite is a semi metal containing metallic and non-metallic properties. These properties make the material strong, corrosion resistant and able to withstand high temperatures. It can be found in products from lead pencils to items used for chemical processing to heat shields, and many more applications are most likely waiting to be discovered.
Carbon graphite and the many other forms of both carbon and graphite are still being explored and studied constantly, even in its space contexts. According to an article by Ars Technica, the graphite-like items discovered in meteorites from Mars might have a different explanation than life. These instances are thought to be what is within the planet; possibly they came from volcanoes on the planet. While this may be a slight disappointment to those hoping for aliens, it is still an interesting discovery and might help scientists discover the chemical reactions that are necessary to create the building blocks for life themselves.