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Thread: Asteroid make life's raw materials

  1. #1 Asteroid make life's raw materials 
    Forum Bachelors Degree x(x-y)'s Avatar
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    Here is an interesting, but small, article:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...materials.html

    The thing I don't understand is how these chemicals may survive (as from as far as i know, amino acids etc are quite sensitive to condition change- please correct me if I'm wrong) upon an impact with the Earth on the asteroid. I would've thought that these building blocks of life may be 'obliterated' so to speak upon impact with the Earth's surface. So, would anyone care to explain? I'd love to know about this sort of thing, thanks!

    By the way, I wasn't sure whether to post this in this sub-forum or biology...


    "Nature doesn't care what we call it, she just does it anyway" - R. Feynman
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I don't have the reference, but about ten years ago a research team laced ice with amino acids then fired the block at hypersonic velocity into a target. The experiment was desgined to see what would happen to amino acids during a cometary impact. The energy of the impact was scaled to be what could be expected during such an event.

    Not only did the amino acids survive, but they linked up into polypeptides, the simpler cousins of proteins. This demonstrated that not only are comets a good delivery system for organic materials, but the impact event can support or initiate relevant pre-biotic chemistry.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree x(x-y)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I don't have the reference, but about ten years ago a research team laced ice with amino acids then fired the block at hypersonic velocity into a target. The experiment was desgined to see what would happen to amino acids during a cometary impact. The energy of the impact was scaled to be what could be expected during such an event.

    Not only did the amino acids survive, but they linked up into polypeptides, the simpler cousins of proteins. This demonstrated that not only are comets a good delivery system for organic materials, but the impact event can support or initiate relevant pre-biotic chemistry.
    Ah, I see- so the asteroid impact kind of initiates the 'chain reaction' towards life? Interesting...
    "Nature doesn't care what we call it, she just does it anyway" - R. Feynman
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