Amino Acids in Chondrites

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
June 4, 2015
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Amino Acids in Chondrites
Rumuruti (R) chondrites have been recognized as a chondrite group since 1994. The first R chondrite was found in Australia in 1977 and is known as the Carlisle Lakes R chondrite. Above are thin sections from Carlisle Lakes in plane-polarized light (left) and cross-polarized light (right). Image Credit: NASA JPL

Many theories about the origins of life involve the delivery of organic molecules to the early Earth by objects from space. Previously, scientists have identified amino acids in carbon-rich meteorites. The abundance and structure of these amino acids can be very different depending on what type of meteorite they come from.

Astrobiologists supported in part by the Exobiology & Evolutionary Biology element of the Astrobiology Program have now added to the catalog of amino acids found in different types of carbon-rich meteorites, reporting on the abundance of amino acids in nine different samples (seven from type 3-6 CK chondrites and two Rumuruti chondrites).

The distribution of amino acids found in the nine meteorites was similar to previous studies on thermally altered ureilites and CV and CO chondrites. The study, “Amino acid analyses of R and CK chondrites“, was published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

Astrobiology, Astrochemistry,

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