Scientists find the building blocks of extraterrestrial life in California meteorite
Find suggests the universe is rich in organic compounds.
Scientists studying a meteorite that fell to Earth over California last year say they have found the building blocks of life within it. The discovery suggests that organic molecules, the basic building blocks of life, may be more common that previously supposed.
Scientists working with samples of the meteorite subjected the rock to forensic examination looking for evidence of organic compounds. They're interested in learning just how common the basic building blocks for life are in the solar system. If those compounds are common, then life may have arisen on Earth quite easily. If rare, then it becomes harder to explain the mechanics of the origin of life.
It should be noted here that despite popular sentiment, neither result impacts the ultimate question of creation.
Biochemist Sandra Pizzarello from the Arizona State University in Tempe told Space.com, "Their composition therefore has always been seen as an indication that the precursors to the evolution that led to the origins of life could have come from the extraterrestrial material of meteorites."
In other words, the molecules that form life on Earth may have come from elsewhere.
One of the problems with the scientific theory of creation and evolution of life is that it is difficult to explain how life arose on a planet that should otherwise be sterile. The primordial Earth was incredibly hostile to life. The planet baked at hundreds of degrees at the surface destroying any possibility that life could naturally evolve. Liquid water did not exist at the surface, which was initially molten.
So how did we get life from a virtual Hell on Earth?
Over time, the planet's surface cooled and water, as well as important molecules arrived on the surface. Comets bombarded the cooling planet, delivering their dust and ice, rich in organic compounds, to the surface, forming the oceans and most of the water now on the planet.
Meteorites also brought organic compounds.
How those compounds developed to create life remains a mystery that scientists still have difficulty replicating in a lab. However, according to theory, those compounds eventually came together in just the right proportions to form life, which subsequently evolved into all that lives on the Earth --including us.
The meteorite from Sutter's Mill did not produce very promising results at first. Initial study suggested that organic compounds were virtually nonexistent. However, a subsequent study that included dissolving fragments of the meteorite in conditions similar to steaming hot hydrothermal vents on Earth, yielded a startling result. The meteorite was actually rich in compounds.
This suggests that under the right conditions, organic compounds embedded in the rock can emerge and create the soup of molecules needed to form life.
Of course, the soup of molecules extracted from the rock formed no such life nor was that the aim of the experiment. Moreover, no life has ever been created in the lab from non-living compounds. It appears there remains a missing ingredient.
Aside from that, the study tantalizingly suggests that compounds needed to create life are otherwise common and may be found throughout the solar system, and possibly the universe entire.
Watch Catholic Online's most viral videos here!
© 2013, Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- Micro-spacecraft plans to land on moon in 2015
- Mysterious object blurs the distinction between planets and stars
- Hubble discovery puts us closer than ever to finding alien life - water discovered on 5 planets
- Through the air: The sound of computer keystroke can now be used for spying purposes
- Israeli scientists discover substance that may fend off Alzheimer's, Aging and Parkinson's
- FANTASTIC! Mile-long floating city would house 50,000 permanent residents
- Don't cry for Comet ISON, another stupendous sky show is coming!
- COMET ISON BREAKS UP!
- Where you can watch the death of Comet ISON live as it happens
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?