The Apple Of God's Eye

June 12, 2011

Did Life Really Originate From Asteroid Microbes?

U of A scientist Christopher Herd with the Tagish Lake meteorite - http://www.vancouversun.com

Scientists are now fawning over a meteorite found in British Columbia, Cananda, supposedly containing evidence that asteroids are production sites for molecules such as amino acids which form the building blocks of life.
The space rock first crashed to Earth along the B.C.-Yukon border (Tagish Lake) in 2000, and now scientists are saying it contains important new clues about the building blocks of life and how they formed in the early universe more than 4.6 billion years ago.
“What we’re seeing are the ingredients of life,” said planetary geologist Christopher Herd at the University of Alberta. Herd and a team from NASA and several U.S. universities report in the journal Science today that they have found several types of organic molecules of “prebiotic importance” in fragments of the meteorite.

This indicates there may have been a “Goldilocks window,” when organic molecules formed on asteroids may have seeded Earth and other newly formed planets with the chemical precursors needed for life to emerge, Herd said. The analysis turned up a dozen different amino acids, which are used to build proteins and other molecules common in cell walls. (VancouverSun.com)

Herd believes that warmer temperatures in the asteroid and the presence of water and possibly certain minerals provide a good environment for certain chemical reactions needed to produce organic molecules, a class of carbon-based chemicals that living things are largely made of.

However, looking to microbes as early evidence of the building blocks of life, without substantial support, is merely straining at a gnat, and as evidence for life this is pathetic. But we shouldn’t be surprised at the waves this research is making, because in 1996 researchers also claimed they had found fossil bacteria on a meteorite from Mars. Eventually, most scientists decided that what the overeager scientists were really looking at was simply a rock. (more…)

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