(I don't think anyone has posted this news story in this section yet, but if so please notify me)
"Some of life's raw ingredients may have originated in space, says a new analysis of an Australian meteorite that adds more fuel to the
Researchers discovered the organic molecules uracil and xanthine in the meteorite and confirmed they could not have formed on Earth.
These molecules, called nucleobases, are precursors to DNA, a set of genetic instructions for organisms on Earth. (Get the facts on DNA.)
Uracil and xanthine may also have been stepping-stones to RNA, which builds proteins in organisms.
"Emergent life systems may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in an early and primitive genetic material, enabling them to
pass on their successful features to the next generations," said study leader Zita Martins of Imperial College London.
The finding supports an idea first proposed by astronomer Carl Sagan and a colleague in 1992. Some of life's crucial building blocks, they said, were
forged in the hearts of roving comets and asteroids, which seeded them throughout the cosmos.
(Related: "Did Comets Make Life on Earth Possible?" [October 2, 2003].)
"It could be that these molecules landed in just the right place at the right time and helped to make us what we are," said Max Bernstein, an
astrochemist at NASA Ames Research Center in California who was not involved in the study.";
Interesting stuff, sounds plausible enough to me, also interesting because it increases the chance of there being life elsewhere in the universe (even
if it turns out to be very primitive).
What do you think of the recent news of this this study/or and theory in general?