Cosmic Chemistry Made Us

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Cosmic chemistry made us, claim scientists in articles from EurekAlert 13 March 2008. A group of researchers have analysed two meteorites found in Antarctica and found they have highest concentration of amino acids so far discovered in meteorites. Amino acids are basic building blocks of life and are believed to be an essential component of the organic soup that evolutionary biologists believe the first cells evolved from. The source of the original amino acids is much disputed, and these findings reinforce the theory that much of the original organic material was delivered to the earth by meteoric bombardment early in the history of the solar system. Zita Martins of Imperial College London, one of the researchers, explained: “We know that approximately 3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago the Earth underwent heavy bombardment from meteorites which brought molecules to our planet, just before life emerged on Earth. However, there is a gap in knowledge about how life came into being. Our work has shown that it may have been meteoritic amino acids and other biologically useful compounds that spurred life into existence.”

The scientists are confident that the amino acids were formed in outer space, and were not acquired after the meteorites arrived on earth because organic molecules from extra-terrestrial sources have different ratios of carbon isotopes. Conel Alexander of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, another of the researchers, suggested the amino acids were originally made by “ammonia and other chemical precursors from the solar nebula or even the interstellar medium” combining in the presence of water. Zita Martins went on to say: “Our increasing understanding of the materials available for the first living systems in the solar system suggests that we are all products of cosmic chemistry.”

Editorial comment: As there were no scientists to observe the earth before life arrived on it, however long ago they believe it happened, these researchers cannot claim to “know” the earth was bombarded by meteorites “just before life emerged on earth”. The finding of amino acids in meteorites only proves that amino acids can be made by chemistry in space, and all nature generated amino acids to date have been 50/50 mixes of Left and Right forms of the amino acids. Earth life never uses such a mix. The new meteorite AAs, do not prove that amino acids turned into living cells on earth. Amino acids are only one of the many building blocks needed to make life, and even if they could all be found to come about by chemical reactions in space (or on earth) that would not prove that life is simply the product of cosmic (or earthly) chemistry. Making living cells requires creative design and manipulation of chemicals, not just the random reaction of the chemicals.

Evidence News 9 April 2008

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