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: Kim Kardashian Sides With Blac Chyna Over Messy Brother Rob Drama
More news: Lionel Messi is such a luxury, Jordi Alba reveals why
More news: Pacers come from behind, defeat Cavaliers 97-95

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

  • 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.
    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.

    Investors Buy Shares of Alibaba Group (BABA) on Weakness

    A total of 19.5 million shares exchanged at hands and its average trading volume is standing at 19.39 million shares. The stock of Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA ) has "Buy" rating given on Friday, August 18 by SunTrust.
  • 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.

    Bank of America Corp (BAC) Holdings Reduced by Quotient Investors LLC

    Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) was reduced too. $1.02 million worth of 3M Company (NYSE:MMM) was sold by Keel Paul A on Friday, August 11. Zweig-Dimenna Associates Llc sold 62,182 shares as the company's stock declined 6.00% while stock markets rallied.
    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.
  • Blow for Bayern as Lewandowski and Hummels ruled out of Leverkusen clash

    Blow for Bayern as Lewandowski and Hummels ruled out of Leverkusen clash

    Including recent friendlies during the break, Bayern have won 17 of their last 18 games in all competitions. Bayern look certain to win the league once again.
    AFC Divisional Playoffs: Three things to watch in Jaguars-Steelers

    AFC Divisional Playoffs: Three things to watch in Jaguars-Steelers

    His most productive game of the season came in Week 17 against Cleveland when he racked up eight tackles and two sacks. A few months ago, it would have surprised no one if the Jags had announced they were moving on from Bortles .
    PSEB announces exam dates for classes 10 and 12

    PSEB announces exam dates for classes 10 and 12

    The English language paper is due to be held on March 05 and after a day's gap students will have to appear for Physics exam. The experts have also said that the class 10 and 12 students have over 50 days to prepare for their board exams.
  • 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 .
    Margot Robbie Thought Tonya Harding Was a Fictional Character

    Margot Robbie Thought Tonya Harding Was a Fictional Character

    During the two-hour special, Harding said she had done enough apologizing for what happened decades ago. Harding didn't deny the incident helped create more of a buzz around US women's figure skating.
    Kerber claims Sydney title

    Kerber claims Sydney title

    Barty was seeking her second singles title after 2017 Kuala Lumpur, she still earned two places in the Rankings, up to No. In the men's final, Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev beat 18-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur 1-6, 6-4, 7-5.