Sunday, September 24, 2023

Fireballs Carrying Carbonaceous Chondrite Brought Building Blocks of Life to Earth [Studies]

Life on Earth has been one of the most extraordinary natural phenomenon in history, since biologists and other scientists until now have no unifying or universal theory as to where and how life on the Blue Planet came to be.

In a scientific perspective, some of the prevailing theories about the origins of life are the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis, Miller-Urey experiment, and the RNA world.

Scientists, particularly evolutionary biologists, in general have agreed that current life forms on our planet were a product of the transition from simple to complex organisms.

Other scientific theories suggested that life came from the cosmos carrying minerals and proteins that serve as the building blocks of life.

However, none of the theories explained the ultimate origin, let alone the exact mechanism, of how life emerged.

Now, recent studies have shown that fireballs or meteors from space carried elements to Earth which served as the necessary ingredients for the building blocks of life.

The findings seem to support the idea that primal Earth, which is marked by violent eruptions and hazardous gases, received such ingredients at a later time after our planet formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

Building Blocks of Life

(Photo : Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay )
A stock photo of a meteor or fireball heading towards Earth.

In a media release, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on January 26 presented two separate studies, wherein researchers identify volatile elements like potassium and zinc in meteorites as part of nucleosynthetic isotope anomalies, which are small difference in isotope ratios left behind by incomplete integration of pre-solar material.

Both studies, which have been published in the journal Science on January 26, have agreed that meteorites inherited the said anomalies of potassium-40 produced in supernova, a powerful explosion from a dying star.

These elements constrain the sources of the material that formed Earth.

The joint research concluded that approximately 90% of Earth’s mass was a result of an accumulation of non-carbonaceous (NC) material from the inner solar system, while only 10% was a result of carbonaceous chondrite (CC) material accumulation from the outer solar system.

Also Read: Starlight Origin of Building Blocks of Life

Origins of Life Theories

The dominant theories about the origins of life mentioned earlier also serve as a framework for scientists who continuously determine the emergence of life approximately between 3.5 and 3.9 billion years ago.

The American non-profit educational organization Khan Academy summarizes some of these significant origin of life theories:

  •  The Oparin-Haldane hypothesis postulates that life gradually emerged from inorganic molecules, which contains building blocks like amino acids and then later on combined to make complex polymers.
  •  The Miller-Urey experiment is the first scientific procedure that has proven that the first evidence of organic molecules.
  •  The RNA world hypothesis is supported by some scientists since the theory suggests that there is an evidence that the first life was a self-replicating RNA. 

Regardless of these theories, the recent double Science studies indicate all of these ingredients for the building blocks of life originated from the depths of our solar system and carried by fireballs.

Related Article: Building Blocks of Life Found in Samples Asteroids that Returned to Earth

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