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Researchers: An amino acid could have formed in space long before stars

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glycine/Public Domain

The simplest one, glycine, one of life’s building blocks, can form in
space-like conditions:

The results, published in Nature Astronomy, suggest that glycine, and very likely other amino acids, form in dense interstellar clouds well before they transform into new stars and planets.

Comets are the most pristine material in our Solar System and reflect the molecular composition present at the time our Sun and planets were just about to form. The detection of glycine in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and in samples returned to Earth from the Stardust mission suggests that amino acids, such as glycine, form long before stars. However until recently, it was thought that glycine formation required energy, setting clear constraints to the environment in which it can be formed.

In the new study the international team of astrophysicists and astrochemical modelers, mostly based at the Laboratory for Astrophysics at Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands, have shown that it is possible for glycine to form on the surface of icy dust grains, in the absence of energy, through ‘dark chemistry’. The findings contradict previous studies that have suggested UV radiation was required to produce this molecule.

Queen Mary, University of London, “Building blocks of life can form long before stars” at Phys.org

Paper. (paywall)

Hmm. This might provide support for the idea that primitive life forms can travel on comets.

The song version, for Mung: Here's the story of colliding comets They were banging out life's substance on their own They had all the stuff to make a puppy But it would take some time Here's a story about debris accretion It was busy making planets on its own It had all of the stuff to make you happy But it would take some time Till the one day when the comets met this planet And they became one and such a messy bunch Then this mess grew and came together And that is how we all became the Brady bunch! :cool: ET
News, off topic, but this might make an interesting subject for a posting. https://twistedsifter.com/videos/shape-shifting-cuttlefish-morph-into-hermit-crabs/?fbclid=IwAR1nASSG7go9F3BwmN8_6OV4Y7mJR-uAZg0LR6C1nfsf6Wv1d5bt5SK-Sps Mac McTavish
ET: Yes. This is an absolutely life altering discovery. Just think of the time that comets have had to bang into each other and exchange the fundamental molecules of life. Think of all the opportunities for more complex assemblages of amino acids to have formed. And what if, and oh what a big if, SPACE ITSELF acts as "natural selection" on these assemblages, guiding them to ever more lifelike configurations. Life From Space indeed. See. No Designer needed. Mung
Comets as Ice poop Ok I’m picking up what you are putting down AaronS1978
Stones formed on earth long before Stonehenge. Wow, does that mean the earth produced Stonehenge? :roll: ET
Maybe comets are just giant ice-poop from ancient giant starships, like the ice-poop that falls from airliners. polistra
Therefore LIFE! Hehe. Hehehehe. mike1962
I find it highly ironic, that the evidence for abiotic formation of amino acids always comes from comets. Yet the evidence of microfossils and biology on comets is resolutely resisted. (Hoover 2011 JofCosmology) Even the amino acids they find are L-amino chiral molecules, which by all accounts is evidence of life. Yet instead the authors always conclude that they are proof of abiotic production. (This article mentions glycine, which is the simplest amino acid, and has no chiral centers, so there is no difference between L- and D- glycine.) Robert Sheldon

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