Monday, December 8, 2008

Meteors Created Life

Scientific American is reporting on a research project showing that it was meteors hitting the oceans, not asteroids of comets from outer space as was previously thought that led to life on earth. The study, by two Japanese scientists, is based on them having replicated the impact of meteorites hitting the ocean at 1.25 miles, or two kilometers per second

Study co-author Toshimori Sekine, a researcher at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, says he was surprised by the output from the experiment, adding that "there are many additional molecules we found but didn't analyze yet." Lead author Yoshihiro Furukawa, a PhD candidate at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, says that in light of the results, "we can say those ocean impact events [were] very effective processes for the production of various biomolecules on the early Earth." He is quick to note, though, that it is unclear how much or how many of these biomolecules would be needed to initiate life.

But will we ever know the answer to life's origins?

"It's neat to show that you could harness the energy of impacts to create organic bonds," says Jennifer Blank, an astrobiologist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. But she fears that theories of life's origin may never move beyond the hypothetical. "As someone in the general field, one of the frustrations, of course, is that we're never going to know the answer," she says. "But as another mechanism for contributing to the inventory of organic compounds, this is cool."

1 comment:

poppingunit said...

So your theory is: biomolecules, combine to initiate life at a meteor impact, forming some kind of bacteria? which then that bacteria morphed into a fish? Which that fish jumped out the water, grew lungs and became a lizard, of which that lizard stood upright and became and ape? Of which that ape stood even more upright and became what we are today? Am I connecting the dots correctly? I thought meteors that impact oceans maybe near the yucatan peninsula destroyed life not created it? Someone set me straight here.