Scientists find extraterrestrial protein in meteorite

Hyperaxion February 27, 2020 11:37 pm

Discovery reinforces theory that the origin of life may be related to meteorite impacts on Earth.

A team of scientists from Harvard University and biotechnology companies found protein molecules in a meteorite analyzed in the laboratory.

The study was published on the Arxiv platform and will still undergo peer review.

What are proteins

Proteins are macromolecules formed from the binding of amino acids.

These substances perform essential tasks for the functioning of the body of living beings, from the response to stimuli to the catalysis of chemical reactions.

Methodology

To detect the proteins, the researchers exposed the meteorite (Acfer 806) to a laser ionization mass spectrometry procedure.

The result indicated the presence of amino acid structures with glycine residues and glycine hydroxide attached to iron atoms, along with oxygen and lithium particles.

According to the researchers, the composition of proteins indicates that the substances are in fact extraterrestrial.

The ingredients for life may have come from elsewhere

The ingredients for life may have come from elsewhere.
The ingredients for life may have come from elsewhere. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab)

The discovery reinforces the hypothesis that the impact of asteroids on Earth may have created the conditions for the emergence of life on the planet, by providing essential elements for the constitution of living beings.

The same theory was discussed at the end of last year when NASA identified “alien sugars” in meteorites on Earth.

Additionally, in 2014, the American space agency itself already detected the existence of complex molecules, such as amino acids, in space.

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