German scientists have recreated the mysterious event 4 billion years ago that gave our Earth life.
Research led by Dr SAKrasnokutski from the astrophysics laboratory group of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Jena, Germany) has focused on peptides, which are smaller versions of proteins and are one of the basic foundations necessary for life to exist.
Amino acids are organic compounds that make up peptides. And new research has shown that a chemical precursor of this class, amino ketene – which can form the amino acid glycine – can be created under space conditions, without the need for water.
According to Science Alert, the scientists used a super-vacuum chamber with some substrates to simulate conditions in cosmic dust clouds, with a pressure of about a quarter of normal atmospheric pressure and temperature of minus 263 degrees Celsius. They have shown that amino ketene can be formed directly in this strange environment.
Thus, 4 billion years ago, the building blocks of life could completely have been cast right in the cosmic dust clouds before finding their way to Earth, not necessarily the original materials themselves. The Earth has sprouts of life. This explains why although the planets in the Solar System share in terms of materials, so far only our planet is certain to have life.
“The pathway to deliver biofilm-formers formed by this chemical process to rocky planets in the ’habitable zones’ of star systems could be an important factor in the origin of life.” – the study just published in Nature Astronomy concludes.