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Astrogeology: April 2012


Creating some of life's building blocks in space may be a bit like making a sandwich - you can make them cold or hot. This evidence that there is more than one way to make crucial components of life increases the likelihood that life emerged elsewhere in the Universe, according to the research team led by astrobiologists at NAI's Goddard Center for Astrobiology. It also gives support to the theory that a "kit" of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by impacts from meteorites and comets assisted the origin of life.

In a recent study published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, scientists from NAI's Goddard Space Flight Center Team analyzed samples from fourteen carbon-rich meteorites with minerals that indicated they had experienced high temperatures - in some cases, over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. They found amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, used by life to speed up chemical reactions and build structures like hair, skin, and nails.