NASA Has Detected The Building Blocks of Life in Two Meteorites
22 Novembre, 2019, 02:28 | Auteur: Therese Cote
RNA is perhaps best known as a master messenger, responsible for copying the genetic information stored in DNA and delivering that data to the cellular structures responsible for making the proteins that humans and other organisms need to survive.
Sugars crucial to the evolution of life on Earth have been found in meteor samples for the first time.
Around 4.6 billion years ago, during the early years of the solar system, cosmic ice rays were blasted by the sun's rays, and the gradual chemical reaction caused sugar molecules to form on the surface of asteroids.
While the cake of life was no doubt baked here on Earth, there's increasing evidence that the batter began mixing in space.
NASAsaid in a statement: "If correct, meteorite bombardment on ancient Earth may have assisted the origin of life with a supply of life's building blocks".
"Other important building blocks of life have been found in meteorites previously, including amino acids (components of proteins) and nucleobases (components of DNA and RNA), but sugars have been a missing piece among the major building blocks of life", says Yoshihiro Furukawa, lead author of the study.
'This is important since there could have been a delivery bias of extraterrestrial ribose to the early Earth which is consistent with the hypothesis that RNA evolved first'.
Scientists will soon have another chance to skim the sugar off of some ancient space rocks, when Japan's Hayabusa2 and NASA's OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft return samples of the asteroids Bennu and Ryugu to Earth. This, in turn, has the possibility of being a factor in the origin of life.
This is because RNA molecules have capabilities that DNA lacks. Scientists believe RNA came first because it has abilities that DNA does not, such as being able to make copies of itself without "help" from other molecules and being a catalyst for chemical reactions.
NASA Jonson Space Center has provided the team other meteorites and the team will analyze them to see which meteorites contain the sugars and how theses sugars formed.
The discovery was made in powdered samples from two meteorites - Northwest Africa 801 (NWA 801), which was found in Morocco in 2001, and Murchison, which was found in Australia in 1969.
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