Researchers said a meteorite that fell to Earth over northwestern Canada in 2000 contains a previously unseen type of primitive organic material that was formed long before our own solar system came into being.
The finding was published last week in the International Journal of Astrobiology. The Tagish Lake meteorite fell to Earth over the Yukon Territory on Jan. 18, 2000.
Parts of the meteorite were collected and kept frozen in an unprecedented level of cleanliness to ensure that it was not contaminated by any terrestrial sources. The researchers found numerous hollow, bubble-like hydrocarbon globules in the meteorite.
They believe these organic globules, the first found in any natural sample, are very similar to those produced in laboratory simulations designed to recreate the initial conditions present when life first formed in the universe.