"Ingredients for Life Found" in Space Rocks

Blue crystal

Previous studies of these two meteorites marked the first time that pairing was found together.

A detailed analysis of the chemical makeup within tiny blue and purple salt crystals sampled from the two meteorites, known as Monahans and Zag, found a mix of complex organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids, according to the study published Wednesday in the US journal Science Advances. "Are essentially little packages full of organic compounds including amino acids - the building blocks of life".

A comprehensive study of the chemical makeup entailed in tiny blue and purple salt crystals inspected from these meteorites which encompassed results from X-ray experiments at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), also discovered proof for the pair's bygone merging and plausible parents.

20 years after they landed on earth, meteorite fragments studied by scientists were known to contain organic elements considered as ingredients to life. The crystals were around two millimeters in size and contained organic solids and water traces a mere fraction of the width of human hair.

A team of researchers from the United States, UK and Japan has found liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds in 4.5-billion-year-old salt crystals preserved in two unique meteorites, Zag and Monahans, which separately crashed to Earth in 1998. The traces of water in the crystals are believed to almost 4.5 billion years old.

"We revealed that the organic matter was somewhat similar to that found in primitive meteorites, but contained more oxygen-bearing chemistry", says Yoko Kebukawa, co-author of the study.

The Science Advances published the abstract of the study. These encompass Ceres, a brown dwarf planet that is a huge entity in the asteroid belt, and the asteroid Hebe, a considerable origin of meteorites that cascade on Earth.

Nevertheless, this breakthrough is monumental as it goes a long way to us understanding the process by which life on Earth may have formed, as well as what it might look like if life similarly appeared elsewhere in the universe.

"There are also clues, based on the organic chemistry and space observations, that the crystals may have originally been seeded by ice- or water-spewing volcanic activity on Ceres".

Everything leads to the conclusion that the origin of life is really possible elsewhere,"adds Dr. Chan". "There is a great range of organic compounds within these meteorites, including a very primitive type of organics that likely represent the early solar system's organic composition".

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