Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How Life Originated In Space

15.04.2002


Life originated on the Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. However, the scientists are still disputing over the possible sources of the life origin. The matter is that life on our planet evolved from the molecular level to the level of bacteria organisms within 0.5 - 1 billion years, this period being very short for such an important evolutionary step. The researchers are still racking the brains over this mystery. One of the popular hypothesis asserts that some germs of life have been brought to the Earth from space. But what exactly could have been brought from space and how could the germs have originated in space?



E.A. Kuzicheva and N.B.Gontareva, research assistants from the Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, have confirmed a possibility of abiogenous synthesis of complex organic compounds (monomeric units of nucleic acids) on the surface of comets, asteroids, meteorites and space dust particles in the outer space. Therefore, it is possible that the above monomeric units of nucleic acids could have got to the Earth and thus could have significantly reduced the time period of the evolution process. On the surface of space bodies the scientists have found all kinds of various organic molecules (amino acids, organic acids, sugars etc.) and the components required for their synthesis. Obviously, it is there that organic substances are being synthesised, but the researchers can not be sure of this fact, until the experiments confirm their assumptions. The scientists from St. Petersburg reproduced synthesis of one of the DNA components - 5`-adenosine monophosphate (5`-AMP) under the conditions specially designed to simulate the space environment. In order to synthesise 5`-AMP it is required to combine adenosine and inorganic phosphate. On the Earth the reaction goes in the solution, but there are no solvents whatsoever in space, therefore the researchers dried them in the air and got a pellicle. Synthesis requires energy. The major source of energy in the outer space both at present and in the prebiotic period of the Earth history has been the solar ultraviolet radiation of different wavelengths. Therefore, the pellicles were irradiated by a powerful ultraviolet lamp. Naturally, the synthesis was carried out in vacuum, and the researchers used the lunar soil, delivered to the Earth by the `Moon-16` station from the Sea of Abundance, as a model of the comet, meteorite, interplanetary or cosmic dust. The soil represented basaltic dust of the dark-grey colour, the diameter of its particles being less than 0.2 millimetres.

After 7-9 hours of ultraviolet irradiation of the dry pellicles the scientists acquired several compounds, mainly 5`-AMP, one of the DNA/RNA monomers. The energy of radiation does not promote synthesis alone, it also facilitates decomposition of the initial and newly-synthesised compounds, the more powerful the radiation is, the more extensively the decomposition goes. However, the lunar soil provided some protection. It has appeared that a small pinch of the lunar soil protects organic substances from the destructive ultraviolet impact - the lunar soil helps to increase the 5`-AMP yield by 2.7 times.


The researchers have made a conclusion that the organic compounds synthesis could have happened in the outer space environment. The synthesis could have taken place on the surface of space bodies at the initial phases of the solar system formation, along with that the chemical evolution (formation and selection of complex molecules) could have started in space. By the time the Earth was formed the chemical evolution might have approached the phase to be followed by the biological evolution. That implies that life on the Earth most probably did not start from the elementary organic molecules synthesis, but commenced from the polymers formation phase or from a further stage. Hopefully, the above assumptions will help the scientists to deeper penetrate into the mystery of the accelerated development of life on the Earth when the latter was quite a `young` planet.

Natalia Reznik | alphagalileo

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>