Life comes from space?  The main components probably formed on asteroids

Based on what we currently know about Earth and space, our planet is about 4.5 billion years old. on The first life arose 4 billion years ago. It is believed that it began with the so-called Primal soup (Prebiotic soup or urea soup) Any mixture of organic compounds. However, how and where its individual components were produced remains a mystery to scientists. According to recent research, the amino acids, fats and sugars essential for life could have been created in space and delivered to Earth via meteorites. As a team of French-German scientists has determined, such a scenario offers the most likely explanation for the emergence of the elements necessary for life.

The study, published April 17, 2024, in the journal Science Advanced, focused primarily on creating peptides, which are short chains of 2 to 50 amino acids linked by chemical bonds (peptide bonds). Peptides are essential for the evolution of life on Earth. Which, at the beginning of its existence, was not a friendly place for their formation at all. These compounds have a number of functions, including: stimulating a number of biological processes. According to scientists, they may also have played a role in the formation of primitive cell membrane precursors.

The study's authors, led by Serge Krasnokotzky, an astrophysicist from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, point to a place that, contrary to appearances, is a surprisingly friendly place for peptides to form. this A medium between the stars It consists of interstellar matter and radiation, occupying vast interstellar spaces in the galaxy. Scientists recreated the conditions in the interstellar medium in the laboratory and confirmed that peptide synthesis depends on three components – carbon, carbon monoxide and ammonia. Thanks to its presence, amino ketone molecules can be formed, which can be combined into chains – peptides.

By coagulating dust in interstellar space, the thin molecular cloud can transform into a denser cloud Protoplanetary disk – A rotating stellar disk of dense gas and dust surrounding a young, newly forming star, from which new stars, planets, moons, and other celestial bodies are formed. Among the various objects in space, comets or asteroids may be the most suitable for the formation of peptides. The ammonia in it combines with water, creating a mixture that does not evaporate due to being trapped between the rocks, and is ideal for creating amino ketone molecules. Relatively small changes in temperature over long periods of time enhance peptide synthesis by providing time for the necessary chemical reactions to occur. As scientists suggest, they may have arrived on Earth when, during its formation, it was bombarded with rocks likely to contain essential compounds.

Source literature: Serge A. Krasnokotsky et al., Composition of extraterrestrial peptides and their derivatives.Sci-fi. Status.10eadj7179 (2024).DOI:10.1126/

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