Carbonaceous chondrites shed light on the origins of life in the universe

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by paddoboy, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/C..._the_origins_of_life_in_the_universe_999.html


    Carbonaceous chondrites shed light on the origins of life in the universeby Staff WritersMadrid, Spain (SPX) Dec 16, 2016

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    The meteorite samples analysed in this study come from NASA's Antarctic collection and derive from asteroids and, possibly, from comets. "Chondrites are non-differentiated meteorites, a legacy fossil from the creation of planetesimals. These provide us not only with information about the processes of aggregation of the earliest building blocks of the planets, but also about everything which occurred in their interiors shortly after their formation", explains CSIC scientific investigator at the Institute of Space Science and at Catalonia's Institute of Space Science, Josep Maria Trigo, the study's codirector.

    The results of the work highlight the fundamental role played by the water soaking the asteroids which were progenitors of certain carbonaceous chondrites around 50 million years before the Earth was formed. These processes encouraged the synthesis of complex organic molecules in those asteroids which, upon reaching other planets, would have fertilised their surfaces with these prebiotic compounds.

    "Commonly, the abrupt arrival of these meteorites causes their fragmentation and, due to the high temperatures involved, the degradation of organic compounds. For that reason, we decided to develop experiments which were capable of synthesising organic material originating from chondrite minerals, once they had reached the ground though not necessarily with any surviving primordial organic compounds", adds Trigo.

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    "The data obtained indicates that, even if chondrites were pulverised and lost their organic compounds during the phases of deceleration and ablation in the atmosphere, those minerals which reached the Earth's surface and were heated in the presence of both water and formamide would be able to reproduce the organic compounds fundamental to prebiotic chemistry.

    This clearly points to life being fertilised from outside Earth's atmosphere- life which could reach any part of our Solar System and, for that matter, of the Universe wherever conditions were conducive to maintaining liquid water for a reasonable length of time. Mars, Europa and Titan could possibly be excellent candidates for our exploration" indicates Trigo.
     
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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