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Origin & Evolution of Life: August 2013


Professor Steven Benner will tell geochemists gathering today (Thursday, 29 August) at the annual Goldschmidt conference that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which may have been crucial to the origin of life, could only have been available on the surface of Mars and not on Earth.

Modeling a Near-optimal Genetic Code

Researchers have created a model that may explain the complexities of the origins of life. Their work, which appears in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, offers new insights into how RNA signaling likely developed into the modern "genetic code."

Astrobiologists have shown that a key element for life on Earth was likely delivered to our planet on meteorites. Their work indicates that the early Earth was bombarded by meteorites that provided reactive phosphorus. When released in water, this phosphorus could have been incorporated into prebiotic molecules.

The Astrophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate is pleased to issue this open call for nominations to serve on the Executive Committee of NASA's Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group, or COPAG.

In a new study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, scientists funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) advance a theory about life's origins based on the idea of "reservoir-mediated energy."