Life on Earth may have originated from radioactive meteorites

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from Yokohama State University (Japan) have named a possible cause of the origin of life on Earth. Our planet could become habitable thanks to radioactive meteorites.

The researchers analyzed carbonaceous chondrites – a type of cosmic body that contains water and organic compounds – and found that they emit gamma rays.

It turned out to be associated with the radioactive decay of nuclides such as 26Al (aluminum-26). Scientists concluded that these rays could trigger chemical reactions in meteorites that contribute to the formation of amino acids – the “building blocks” of life.

To test their theory, the scientists mixed ammonia, methanol and formaldehyde with water in amounts similar to those found inside meteorites. The mixture was then irradiated with gamma rays of the analogue isotope cobalt-60.

The experiment showed that the bombardment with gamma rays really led to the active formation of amino acids inside the solution. Higher radiation intensity increased the rate of synthesis of the “building blocks” of life.

The scientists also found that the proportions of amino acids obtained in the laboratory corresponded to those in the real Murchison meteorite that fell in Australia in 1969.

Further analysis showed that it took between 1,000 and 100,000 years for the amino acids in this meteorite to form.

The study proved that the “building blocks” of life could be brought to Earth from space along with meteorites. But it cannot be ruled out that this way of the origin of life was not the only one.

Scientists plan to compare it with other possible mechanisms to establish which of them prevailed at the early stage of the Earth’s existence.

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