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    Vitamin B Might Have Come to Earth on Meteors

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Researchers from Pennsylvania State University working with NASA’s Godard Space Flight Center have found vitamin B3 in eight ancient meteorites.

    Researchers from Pennsylvania State University working with NASA’s Godard Space Flight Center have found vitamin B3 in eight ancient meteorites.

    Niacin is the chemical precursor for amines that form amino acids; essential parts of molecular proteins, which are necessary for the development of living organisms.

    These molecules were found next to structurally related isomers that aren’t necessary for biological life, so experts think that the vitamin B3 was formed from chemical reactions in space rather than being contaminated by life on Earth.

    Lead researcher Karen Smith, from Pennsylvania State University, wrote in an article on the NASA website: “It is always difficult to put a value on the connection between meteorites and the origin of life. For example, earlier work has shown that vitamin B3 could have been produced non-biologically on ancient Earth, but it's possible that an added source of vitamin B3 could have been helpful.”

    Another discovery from this study shows that asteroids and meteors exposed to liquid water contain significantly less vitamin B3 and other similar molecules.

    Niacin and other related chemicals had previously been found in the Tagish Lake meteorite that was analyzed by a team of researchers from Arizona State University in 2001.