Examining how terrestrial life’s building blocks may have first formed
How did life begin? This is one of the most fundamental questions scientists puzzle over. To address it, they have to look not just back to the primordial Earth, but out into space. Now, scientists propose in the Journal of the American Chemical Society a new set of cosmic chemical reactions that could have contributed to the formation of life on our planet.
How more complex hydrocarbons evolved, including those that would eventually lead to life on Earth, remains an open question. Some astrophysicists propose that they all came from methane, which is composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. But George Olah, Surya Prakash and colleagues have a different idea.
|Scientists look to outer space to understand how life’s building blocks first formed |
The scientists believe that when these hydrocarbons and other products were transported to Earth by asteroids or comets, they continued to evolve in the planet's unique "goldilocks" conditions -- liquid water, a breathable atmosphere and moderate temperatures -- ultimately leading to life as we know it.
Source: American Chemical Society [February 03, 2016]