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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: News.com.au | Comments (48)

Tags: Comet, Alien Life

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #39 Posted by lost_shaman on 20 September, 2013, 9:28
I have little time right now (new family addition), but in a nutshell.. I would repeat that we only have one data point. We can speculate endlessly about what might have or might not have happened leading up to LUCA, but as far as we know - it was a single occurrence at a single location, and from that an entire evolutionary tree formed (by processes we are pretty sure of as they are happening today). After LUCA, if there were different outbreaks of new life, then they wouldn't have the same 'signatures', plus there would be a clear new branch of the evolutionary tree. There is no evidence of ... [More]
Comment icon #40 Posted by Chrlzs on 20 September, 2013, 9:53
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! 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 ... [More]
Comment icon #41 Posted by lost_shaman on 20 September, 2013, 10:37
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 have needed exactly... [More]
Comment icon #42 Posted by taniwha on 20 September, 2013, 10:44
taniwha, I am probably the only one on this thread who can appreciate your thinking. If you would like to take your thought about egg-sperm and earth-comet up to the next level then go to http://www.kennethmh...outthebook.html and download the free book. You will be glad you did. " 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 aliens will be intentionally directing comets to strike the earth. Get a detailed picture of future comet strikes for the next 300 years!! Ken... [More]
Comment icon #43 Posted by scowl on 20 September, 2013, 16:38
"Cosmic lottery" is an invention of imagination with its roots stemming from the lack thereof! Its not a natural process, its imaginary. Uh, you're saying it's imagination but not enough imagination? Is this a joke I'm not getting? However it happened that Life arose in this solar system, I'll just assume you're talking about Earth here... it occured via a true natural process and on this Planet it was present in a complex form almost as soon as the surface cooled enough for the first rocks to form! Uh, so you think life existed while the surface was still thousands of degrees? Well that's a t... [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
Scowl, again your premise is completely imaginary. Chemical reactions do not stop on Planets. 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: http://www.spacedaily.com/news/carbon-99d.html 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
Name one chemical reaction that regularly happens on a planet in our solar system that isn't Earth. Wouldn't Volcanism count?


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