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NASA brews organics on ice to explain life

To better understand the origin of life on Earth, NASA researchers led by an Indian scientist are creating concoctions of organics or carbon bearing molecules, on ice in a lab.

The research at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California is the first direct look at the organic reactions that take place on icy particles in the frigid reaches of our solar system, and in the even chillier places between stars.

Scientists think that the basic ingredients of life, including water and organics, began their journey to Earth on these lonesome ice particles, a NASA statement said.

The ice and organics would have found their way into comets and asteroids, which then fell to Earth, delivering ‘prebiotic’ ingredients that could have jump-started life. The various steps needed to go from icy organics to slime molds are not clear, but the new findings help explain how the process works. ‘The very basic steps needed for the evolution of life may have started in the coldest regions of our universe. We were surprised to see organic chemistry brewing up on ice, at these very cold temperatures in our lab,’ said Murthy Gudipati, lead author of the new study at JPL. The organics are called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. These carbon-rich molecules can be found on Earth as combustion products.
Agencies

Agencies

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