WERE THE CHEMICALS OF LIFE DELIVERED TO EARTH BY A COMET?
Although certainly not conclusive, it’s looking more and more like the molecules of life were cooked up elsewhere in the universe…that is to say, not on the earth.
Decades ago, meteorites were found to have been loaded with amino acids ( the building blocks of proteins ) and with nitrogenous bases ( the building blocks of DNA ). But a component of DNA’s “partner in crime”, rIbose sugar, had never been observed in meteorites. Ribose sugar is a part of the RNA molecule, which works together with DNA to carry out protein synthesis.
Anyway, scientists now think COMETS may have delivered that ribose sugar to the earth’s ancient seas billions of years ago.
Why? In a lab, they simulated conditions that comets most likely would have encountered as they formed in the early solar system. They placed small dust grains, methanol, water and ammonia in a flask at -200 degrees C and exposed the whole mess to UV. Voila, ribose was produced along with other sugars and compounds.
So, now we have a reason to believe that comets and meteorites may have delivered the necessary ingredients to earth that made abiogenesis, the spontaneous generation of life on earth, possible.
It’s, of course, just a hypothesis at this point, but a mighty intriguing one.
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