An unexpected find: a meteorite found on the building blocks of all living things


20/12/2010

Scientists have discovered amino acids - the basic units of all living things in metiorit, where they should not be. "This meteorite formed as a result of a collision between two asteroids. Shot Power heated to a temperature of more than 1000 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, all complex organic molecules like amino acids should have been destroyed, but in spite of this we found them" - said Daniel Glevin of the Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA).

"Such a find in this type of meteorite suggests that the amino acids can occur in space in many different ways, increasing the chances of finding extraterrestrial life in the universe," - he said.

Scientists at the Goddard astrobiological Analytical Laboratories is an amino acid found in samples of comet Wild 2, which were taken Stardust spacecraft, and a variety of meteorites with high carbon content.

The discovery of amino acids in these objects supports the theory that life has received an impetus to the development of space - perhaps some of the ingredients formed in space and were delivered to Earth by meteorite.

The extremely sensitive equipment in two laboratories, where analyzed, identified in a sample of 19 different amino acids in amounts of from 0.5 to 149 ppb. The team had to make sure that the amino acids in the meteorite did not appear because of the interaction with the life on Earth. They were able to do it, thanks to a special device amino acids.

The sample containing various minerals, which are formed exclusively at high temperatures, indicating that their birth in the large collision. Perhaps the amino acid - are the remnants of one of the colliding asteroids, which had the best conditions for their occurrence.

But, according to the team, it is unlikely that amino acids could survive in a meteorite, the temperature of 1100 degrees Celsius which is held for a much longer period of time.

Scientists believe that there are alternative ways of occurrence of amino acids in space.

"Previously, we thought that the easiest way for the formation of amino acids asteroid run at lower temperatures and in the presence of liquid water. But the data obtained through this meteorite, suggest that there were chemical reactions in gases at very hot asteroid cools" - Glevin said.

The study was published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science. Receive a daily hot news - download news ticker, be aware of world events.


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