Note in Science page
Created Aug 19 15, Updated Aug 19 15 10:32
Comet impacts could have helped kick-start life go to comments

seen via phys.org post reporting a presentation made at the Goldschmidt geochemistry 2015 conference in Prague.

Researchers have shown how amino acids on icy bodies can be turned into short peptide sequences, via impacts. They used a propellant gun to simulate the shock of a comet impact using a frozen mixtures of amino acid, water ice and silicate at cryogenic condition (77 K) as a bullet.


“Comet crash” taken from a popsci.com post, made by / © Ben Crowder (Flickr CC)

Our experiment showed that the cold conditions of comets at the time of the impacts were key to this synthesis, as the type of peptide formed this way are more likely to evolve to longer peptides.

This finding indicates that comet impacts almost certainly played an important role in delivering the seeds of life to the early Earth. It also opens the likelihood that we will have seen similar chemical evolution in other extraterrestrial bodies, starting with cometary-derived peptides.


Add a comment:

(required)

(will not be published) (required)

(optional)

(ascii characters only)