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Ingredients of life found within stardust


Posted on Thursday, 6 February, 2014 | Comment icon 10 comments


Stardust could be spreading organic material throughout the cosmos. Image Credit: NASA / Victor Bertol

Researchers have discovered that organic material may be hitching a ride in interstellar dust particles.

The discovery was made thanks to a new analytical method enabling a NASA research team to examine tiny samples of meteorites. The organic material found in stardust could have been raining down on our planet from its earliest days, potentially explaining how life on Earth originated.

"Despite their small size, these interplanetary dust particles may have provided higher quantities and a steadier supply of extraterrestrial organic material to early Earth," said Michael Callahan of Goddard's Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory.

While it was already known that this material was finding its way to us in a small percentage of meteorites, this latest discovery suggests that the building blocks of life may have been far more widely available from extraterrestrial sources than previously believed.

   
Source: Nature World News | Comments (10)

Tags: Panspermia, Stardust


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Xynoplas on 4 February, 2014, 21:59
"However, these carbon-rich meteorites are relatively rare, comprising less than five percent of recovered meteorites, and meteorites make up just a portion of the extraterrestrial material that comes to Earth. Also, the building-block molecules found in them usually have been at low concentrations, typically parts-per-million or parts-per-billion. This raises the question of how significant their supply of raw material was." My thoughts exactly. That's not much of a supply for what we need. I'd like to see someone study the structure inside the Murchison meteorite to look f... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 February, 2014, 22:16
As there are multiple fragments of the Murchison Meteorite the inside has, effectively, been studied. In exactly the same way as any other organic rich meteorite. Why would this one be any different? Meteorites are most definitely NOT the remains of a former planet, populated or otherwise. They are the debris left over from the formation of the solar system. Some are the remains of small dwarf planets such as Ceres, but not of anything much larger. Jupiter ensured that no large planet could form where the asteroid belt is today, and as that is where most meteorites originate scientists... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Sundew on 6 February, 2014, 20:37
Just a version of the panspermia theory, that life (or its building blocks in this case) was seeded from space. That life itself could survive in space AND bridge the distance between worlds seems unlikely, given the radiation, intense cold and near vacuum of space. I would suspect the chemicals in "star dust" would already be found right here at home on good old planet Earth in far larger quantities then that originating from a comet or meteorite, and exist in a much more benign environment than one found in outer space.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Paranomaly on 6 February, 2014, 21:46
I think extremophiles would have no problems journeying through space.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Black Magic on 7 February, 2014, 5:27
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin on 7 February, 2014, 6:53
Just for the fun of it...
Comment icon #7 Posted by CRYSiiSx2 on 7 February, 2014, 21:20
"meteors are definitely NOT the remains of a former planet" Uhh... there have been over 120 meteorites identified as Martian.
Comment icon #8 Posted by DecoNoir on 7 February, 2014, 21:46
He's refering specifically to the ones that originate from the astroid belt, which is what this thread is focused on.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 7 February, 2014, 22:48
Thank you, exactly. There are a few meteorites from Mars, the Moon and even Mercury, but these are rare and special cases. They are not as ancient as the vast majority of meteorites, which originate in the asteroid belt and were, themselves, blown into space by the impacts of other meteorites. The point I was making is that there is no "destroyed" planet. The vast majority of asteroids (which are the source of meteorites) were never able to form a planet because of the disruptive effects of Jupiter's gravity. Jupiter's Influence is immense. I've heard it said that i... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by moonshadow60 on 8 February, 2014, 19:06


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