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Comet Impacting Ice May Have Been Beginning of Life

5 years ago74 views

GeoBeats

Geo Beats

Could life on Earth have started with a comet impacting ice on the surface of our planet?

Could life on Earth have started with a comet impacting ice on the surface of our planet?

The shock-synthesis hypothesis, a theory about the origin of life on Earth, says that comets carrying simple chemicals or perhaps amino acids created a chemical reaction when they impacted the planet’s surface.

Researchers from the University of Kent found that shooting steel balls into blocks of ice to mimic the impact of a comet into ice on Earth created amino acids.

Mark Price, one of the leaders of the study from the University of Kent said: “This process demonstrates a very simple mechanism whereby we can go from a mix of simple molecules, such as water and carbon dioxide ice, to a more complicated molecule, such as an amino acid. This is the first step toward life. The next step is to work out how to go from an amino acid to even more complex molecules such as proteins.”

Researchers froze a mixture of clean water and carbon dioxide ice with ammonium hydroxide and methanol, both found in comets, before shooting sterilized balls of steel into it from a gun at 16 thousand miles per hour.

After melting the ice and analyzing the chemical remains, it was found to contain a number of amino acids.

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