ISLAMABAD           -        A new study reveals that asteroid impact sites in the ocean may possess a crucial link in explaining the formation of the essential molecules for life. The study discovered the emergence of amino acids that serve as the building blocks for proteins — demonstrating the role of meteorites in bringing life’s molecules to earth, and potentially Mars. There are two explanations for the origins of life’s building molecules: extraterrestrial delivery, such as via meteorites; and endogenous formation. The presence of amino acids and other biomolecules in meteorites points to the former. Researchers from Tohoku University, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Center for High Pressure Science & Technology Advanced Research (HPSTAR), and Osaka University simulated the reactions involved when a meteorite crashes into the ocean. To do this, they investigated the reactions between carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water, and iron in a laboratory impact facility using a single stage propellant gun.

Their simulation revealed the formation of amino acids such as glycine and alanine. These amino acids are direct constituents of proteins, which catalyze many biological reactions.