Ancient "ocean world" may have seeded meteorites with life's ingredients

Ancient

Space boffins found the rocks, which are approximately 4.5 billion years old, contain both water and organic compounds.

The strong organic structure decoded from the meteorites does not provide a full proof evidence for the presence of life beyond Earth.

From there, the team says, it's possible that biomolecules or even microscopic life could be trapped in the salt crystals and transported around the cosmos.

Zag/Monahans meteorites and their salt (halite) crystals: (A) diagram showing the lithologies of the Zag and Monahans meteorites, their dark (carbonaceous) clasts, the salt crystals, and the fluid and solid inclusions within the salt crystals; (B) salt crystals hosted in the matrix regions of the Zag meteorite; the arrow marks one of the several salt crystals shown in this photo; (C) a microphotograph showing a salt crystal sampled from the Zag meteorite; (D) salt crystals sampled from the Zag meteorite contained in a pre-sterilized glass ampoule before hot-water extraction. Finally, they analyzed the amino acids-building blocks of proteins-they found inside. "However, we believe the salt crystals are from another object in space - the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt, Ceres; it suggests that Ceres could be a water-rich world that is a suitable place for the formation of life." said Chan.

It took scientists nearly two decades to comprehensively analyze samples from the pair of meteorites that were believed to have existed some 4.5 billion years ago. One of the meteorites hit Earth near a children's basketball game in Texas in March 1998 while the other hit near Morocco in August in the same year.

More news: Kerber claims Sydney title
More news: Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ:SWKS) Upgraded to "Hold" by BidaskClub
More news: PSEB announces exam dates for classes 10 and 12

The in-depth analysis of the millimeter-sized salt crystals from the meteorites took time to complete because scientists needed a highly-sensitive instrument to study the crystals of amino acids at nanoscopic scales.

Technology available when the ancient space rocks crash landed on the planet two decades ago was not sensitive enough to reveal the secrets they held. The crystals were around two millimeters in size and contained organic solids and water traces a mere fraction of the width of human hair.

The finding was made by an global team of researchers, which included scientists from the Open University (OU) in the United Kingdom and Nasa's Johnson Space Centre in Texas.

The journal Science Advances published the research this week. The scientists suspected that the crystals might have originally been seeded by ice- or water-spewing volcanic activity on Ceres. Yokohama National University associate professor Yoko Kebukawa said, "Combined with other evidence, the results support the idea that the organic matter originated from a water-rich, or previously water-rich parent body - an ocean world in the early solar system, possibly Ceres".

Related Articles

  • Amazon's Alexa Coming to Select Toyota, Lexus Models This Year

    Amazon's Alexa Coming to Select Toyota, Lexus Models This Year

    Amazon's Alexa has been helpful in our homes the last couple of years and now she's ready to give us a hand in our cars as well. We'll see Vuzix's AR glasses with Alexa support before the summer of 2018, at a price point around $1,000 Dollars .
    Jennifer Lopez Returning to 'Will & Grace' to Play Two Different Roles

    Jennifer Lopez Returning to 'Will & Grace' to Play Two Different Roles

    The original "Will & Grace" series began in 1998 and aired for almost 200 episodes over eight seasons before ending in May 2006. According to Vanity Fair , the 48-year-old superstar is once again making a guest appearance in the romantic comedy.

    Trump's comments threaten already-delicate DACA talks

    Federal judge Alsup said that the administration has to process the renewal applications already received but not any new ones. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra hopes lawmakers will finally end the uncertainty around DACA.
  • Kim Kardashian Sides With Blac Chyna Over Messy Brother Rob Drama

    Kim Kardashian Sides With Blac Chyna Over Messy Brother Rob Drama

    HollywoodLifers , do you think Rob should have been a little calmer about the Chyna situation? Khloe said. You can catch brand new episodes Sunday and Monday night at 9 p.m.!

    Most Americans 'Don't Want' Oprah to Run for President

    Winfrey is favored over President Donald Trump , 48 percent to 38 percent , in a Rasmussen Reports poll released Wednesday. On Tuesday, two anonymous sources close to Ms Winfrey told CNN she is "actively thinking" about running for president.

    Pacers come from behind, defeat Cavaliers 97-95

    He comes from a big city (born and raised in L.A.) and plays in a big city ( Toronto is the NBA's fourth-largest media market). Forward Serge Ibaka will return for Toronto after serving a one-game suspension for fighting Miami's James Johnson.
  • Can Liverpool Halt City's Unbeaten Run?

    Can Liverpool Halt City's Unbeaten Run?

    And they have shored up their suspect defence by paying an eye-watering £75 million to Southampton for defender Virgil Van Dijk . They thrashed 10-man Liverpool 5-0 in the reverse fixture at the Etihad early in the season.
    Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally Enters Senate Race

    Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally Enters Senate Race

    A portion of her speech in Tucson would be spent praising Trump on several key policy accomplishments in his first year in office. The Arizona Democratic Party highlighted what spokesman Drew Anderson called a "long, brutal and expensive" Republican civil war.
    Bitcoin Price Rises To $14300. Five Things To Know About The Cryptocurrency

    Bitcoin Price Rises To $14300. Five Things To Know About The Cryptocurrency

    For those new to cryptocurrency, here is a handy guide outlining the main differences between bitcoin and Ethereum . Several institutional investors are also taking short positions on bitcoin , signifying their bearish outlook.
  • Grab, Uber's rival in Southeast Asia, pulls in strategic investment from Hyundai

    Grab, Uber's rival in Southeast Asia, pulls in strategic investment from Hyundai

    Grab now offers private vehicle , motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services across 8 countries and 168 cities in Southeast Asia.
    Hard Brexit risks 92000 United Kingdom  science and technology jobs

    Hard Brexit risks 92000 United Kingdom science and technology jobs

    Brexit could cost the United Kingdom almost 500,000 jobs in a worst-case scenario, according to a study published yesterday which was commissioned by the mayor of London .
    Scarlett Johansson's solo Black Widow film finally moving forward

    Scarlett Johansson's solo Black Widow film finally moving forward

    In the meantime, we can look forward to seeing Johansson in action again when Infinity War hits our screens on 27 April 2018. At the moment the project hasn't been officially greenlit, but this is a good development for the Black Widow movie.