Seeds of life may have originated in space
Washington: A new experiment simulating conditions in deep space has suggested that the complex building blocks of life on Earth could have been created on icy interplanetary dust and then carried to Earth, jump-starting life.
Chemists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Hawaii, Manoa, showed that conditions in space are capable of creating complex dipeptides-linked pairs of amino acids-that are essential building blocks shared by all living things.
The discovery opens the door to the possibility that these molecules were brought to Earth aboard a comet or possibly meteorites, catalyzing the formation of proteins (polypeptides), enzymes and even more complex molecules, such as sugars, that are necessary for life.
"It is fascinating to consider that the most basic biochemical building blocks that led to life on Earth may well have had an extraterrestrial origin," said UC Berkeley chemist Richard Mathies, coauthor of a paper describing the results.
While scientists have discovered basic organic molecules, such as amino acids, in numerous meteorites that have fallen to Earth, they have been unable to find the more complex molecular structures that are prerequisites for our planet`s biology. As a result, scientists have always assumed that the really complicated chemistry of life must have originated in Earth`s early oceans.
In an ultrahigh-vacuum chamber chilled to 10 degrees above absolute zero (10 Kelvin), Seol Kim and Ralf Kaiser of the Hawaiian team simulated an icy snowball in space including carbon dioxide, ammonia and various hydrocarbons such as methane, ethane and propane. When zapped with high-energy electrons to simulate the cosmic rays in space, the chemicals reacted to form complex, organic compounds, specifically dipeptides, essential to life.
At UC Berkeley, Mathies and Amanda Stockton then analyzed the organic residues through the Mars Organic Analyzer, an instrument that Mathies designed for ultrasensitive detection and identification of small organic molecules in the solar system.
The analysis revealed the presence of complex molecules-nine different amino acids and at least two dipeptides-capable of catalyzing biological evolution on earth.
The findings were published online last week and scheduled for the March 10 print issue of The Astrophysical Journal.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- IAF Mirage fighter plane lands on Yamuna Expressway!
- 'Maggi' under regulatory scanner for excess amount of lead, MSG
- Watch: Michelle Obama's 'Gimme Five' fitness video
- When Subramanian Swamy shocked people at a wedding!
- Mumbaikars join hands to save Pakistani teen with rare illness
- Mumbai: Diamond export company denies job to Muslim youth
- PM Modi speaks at Golden Jubilee celebrations of poet Dinkar’s works
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 21, 2015
- Mirage 2000 fighter jet landing was part of capability demonstration: IAF
- DNA: IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane lands successfully on Yamuna expressway
- Vadodara: Policemen seen dancing with bar girls
- Coal scam: Naveen Jindal, Madhu Koda and others get bail
- DNA: Osama documents show 'Indian brother in Madinah' financed al Qaeda
- One year of Modi govt: Arun Jaitley addresses press conference
- ISIS executes Syrian fighter using anti-tank rocket launcher
- CBSE Class 10 Results 2015 to be announced today?
- IAF jet lands on Yamuna expressway
- Check Jharkhand Board jac.nic.in: Class 12th Art Results 2015 declared
- Fawad Khan doesn’t want intimate scenes with Sonam Kapoor?
- Log on to apeamcet.org AP EAMCET Results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET Marks and AP EAMCET Ranks 2015 declared
- We hire only non-Muslim candidates, diamond export firm tells Muslim youth
- Is MSG in 'Maggi' noodles harmful for you?
- Mumbai firm booked for denying Muslim MBA graduate job on religious grounds, probe ordered
- New IPL rules could see Chennai Super Kings lose MS Dhoni
- Jayalalithaa makes public appearance, meets Governor: As it happened
- `Piku` hits jackpot, does Rs 100 crore business worldwide
- Anurag Kashyap to bid goodbye to India, settle in 'cinema-friendly' France!
- SSLC (tnresults.nic.in) Tenth 10th Results 2015: Tamil Nadu Board Class 10th X Higher Secondary exam results 2015 to be announced shortly
- IPL 2015, Qualifier 2, Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore: Preview
- Geelani's passport application incomplete, cannot be processed: MEA