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Formic acid, a molecule implicated in the origins of life, has been found at record levels on a meteorite that fell into a Canadian lake in 2000.
Cold temperatures on Tagish Lake prevented the volatile chemical from dissipating quickly.
An analysis showed four times more formic acid in the fragments than has been recorded on previous meteorites.
The researchers told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union that the formic acid was extraterrestrial.