Researchers study the origin of life in space through chemical reactions

Researchers study the origin of life in space through chemical reactions

How did the building blocks of life find their way to Earth? According to a theory, amino acids were present in the space and were brought to Earth due to the impact of comets. This theory is based on the fact that the core of icy planets contain nitrogen and carbon (in addition to oxygen and hydrogen), which are essential to the creation of amino acids. Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) attempted to verify this theory by studying the chemical processes that underlie the creation of these amino acids. They studied how the molecule hydroxylamine (NH2-OH), a precursor to amino acids, would form in space. After creating in lab the same conditions as would be in space for comet ice by bringing ammonia and oxygen together, they observed the chemical reactions with a special form of infrared spectroscopy. They found that the experiment generated hydroxylamine which was overlaid in the infrared spectrum by the bands of other molecules. This finding can be an important step in understanding how life began on the planet.

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