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Monday, September 13, 2010

Comets may have brought life to Earth: new study

This one is just too cool not to post:



(PhysOrg.com) -- Life on Earth as we know it really could be from out of this world. New research from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows that comets that crashed into Earth millions of years ago could have produced amino acids - the building blocks of life.

Computer simulations show that long chains containing carbon-nitrogen bonds can form during shock compression of a cometary ice. Upon expansion, the long chains break apart to form complexes containing the protein building amino acid glycine.

Amino acids are critical to life and serve as the building blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids.

In the Sept. 12 online edition of the journal Nature Chemistry, LLNL’s Nir Goldman and colleagues found that simple molecules found within comets (such as water, ammonia, methylene and carbon dioxide) just might have been instigators of life on Earth. His team discovered that the sudden compression and heating of cometary ices crashing into Earth can produce complexes resembling the amino acid, glycine.

For rest of the article - Comets May Have Brought Life to Earth: New Study