New evidence that life on Earth came from space

Illustration for article titled New evidence that life on Earth came from space

Meteors may have seeded the planet with life-giving ammonia.

New research adds more weight to the claim that the lifeless Earth may have been helped in the right direction by a stray asteroid. Carbon-containing meteorites found in the Antarctic have nitrogen locked away inside them. And when these meteorites are treated with heat, pressure and water, they emit ammonium — which the researchers argue was the precursor to complex biomolecules that formed the first single-celled creatures.

The exciting part? The nitrogen found in the meteorites is measurably different from any found on the Earth. If this hunk of rock isn't our ancient parent, it shows that one like it could very well have been.

Research published in PNAS

Image via Triff/Shutterstock

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DISCUSSION

Award for most misleading title?

I think we have a contender.

There is a HUGE difference between the two following things:

A chemical that was necessary for life came on comets/meteorites/whatever

and

Life, fully formed, arrived from space

The first we already knew. Its pretty well established that a big chunk of the earths water came from meteorites (just heard a talk on this from a visiting astronomer actually)

so this is just one in a list of life giving chemicals that arrived from space. Panspermia this is not.