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Comet impacts can produce the spark of life

Posted on Tuesday, 17 September, 2013 | Comment icon 48 comments

Could a comet have sparked life on Earth ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL
The building blocks of life could spontaneously appear whenever a comet smashes in to a planetary body.
The idea that life may be getting transferred around the cosmos on comets and other bodies is not a new one, the theory known as panspermia suggests that life on Earth may have originated from space and that the building blocks of life might be found throughout the universe.

Scientists at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London have taken this idea one step further with a new theory suggesting that comets don't simply deliver these materials to other planets but that instead the collision itself directly springs amino acids in to existence.

If this were true then it would not only explain the beginnings of life on Earth but it would mean that these sparks of life would be happening all around the cosmos on a regular basis.

"Our work shows that the basic building blocks of life can be assembled anywhere in the Solar System and perhaps beyond," said Dr Zita Martins. "However, the catch is that these building blocks need the right conditions in order for life to flourish."

Source: | Comments (48)

Tags: Comet, Alien Life

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #39 Posted by lost_shaman on 20 September, 2013, 9:28
But that was my point! Life did not start with LUCA! LUCA would out compete anything "new". The question is how and where did it all start? Occams Razor has nothing at all to do with LUCA!
Comment icon #40 Posted by Chrlzs on 20 September, 2013, 9:53
I'm getting terribly confused.. You say life did not start with Luca, so you are clearly saying there was earlier/older life.. Yet then you say LUCA would out compete anything new?? ?? If Occam is unneeded, then simply point out your evidence of this other alleged life. And did it start in exactly the same region as LUCA? If it didn't, how on earth did it get out-competed, conveniently before it could leave any trace of its existence - if anything that is evidence of the fact that life almost never gets beyond slime.. If it did start in exactly the same region, then it must hav... [More]
Comment icon #41 Posted by lost_shaman on 20 September, 2013, 10:37
I think you do have baby brain as you say!!! haha! Molecular biologists that are trying to understand the origins of life are trying to create simple self replicating molecules in the lab. LUCA is not the origin of Life just the ancestor we have after maybe a billion years of evolution and symbiosis! We cant even find evidence of LUCA! Its so old we only know it must have genitically existed around the time the Earths first rocks formed!! It still must have started as something much more simple long before!
Comment icon #42 Posted by taniwha on 20 September, 2013, 10:44
" The Heck Hypothesis: Crop Circle Insight ... Crop circles originate from higher intelligences and can be deciphered to reveal future events for this planet. They describe how Get a detailed picture of future comet strikes for the next 300 years!! Kenneth M. Heck quietly pursues such interests as lawn and gardening, Christian spirituality, serious music, paranormal phenomena, survivalism, and the future of humanity. He considers himself a moral conservative, political progressive, and a staunch believer in the work ethic. " Thanks Gold Star but no thanks, I wont be sub... [More]
Comment icon #43 Posted by scowl on 20 September, 2013, 16:38
Uh, you're saying it's imagination but not enough imagination? Is this a joke I'm not getting? I'll just assume you're talking about Earth here... Uh, so you think life existed while the surface was still thousands of degrees? Well that's a theory I've never heard before! I never said that. I'm saying that life is an extremely unlikely process to occur because there are hundreds of conditions for it to happen. If you study early life (which you clearly haven't) you can see how improbable it is that random molecules started collecting thems... [More]
Comment icon #44 Posted by lost_shaman on 20 September, 2013, 22:44
Scowl, again your premise is completely imaginary. Chemical reactions do not stop on Planets.
Comment icon #45 Posted by scowl on 20 September, 2013, 23:28
Name one chemical reaction that regularly happens on a planet in our solar system that isn't Earth.
Comment icon #46 Posted by Lilly on 20 September, 2013, 23:42
Uh...there are chemical reactions on other planets...but no organic chemical reactions that indicate life (that we currently know of anyway). Here's an interesting article: Remember where there are elements and energy chemical reactions follow.
Comment icon #47 Posted by scowl on 22 September, 2013, 0:12
The "raining diamond" theory is just an incomplete theory. The article doesn't explain how the carbon which is now tightly bound in the diamonds and the now-free hydrogen are recombined back into methane completing the cycle. There must be a cycle otherwise all the methane in the atmosphere would eventually be consumed. And it is just a theory. It may not be happening at all.
Comment icon #48 Posted by psyche101 on 24 September, 2013, 6:37
Wouldn't Volcanism count?

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