The simplest one, glycine, one of life’s building blocks, can form in
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
Hmm. This might provide support for the idea that primitive life forms can travel on comets.