Navigation Links
ASU scientists strike scientific gold with meteorite
Date:9/10/2013

An important discovery has been made concerning the possible inventory of molecules available to the early Earth. Scientists led by Sandra Pizzarello, a research professor at Arizona State University, found that the Sutter's Mill meteorite, which exploded in a blazing fireball over California last year, contains organic molecules not previously found in any meteorites. These findings suggest a far greater availability of extraterrestrial organic molecules than previously thought possible, an inventory that could indeed have been important in molecular evolution and life itself.

The work is being published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper is titled, "Processing of meteoritic organic materials as a possible analog of early molecular evolution in planetary environments," and is co-authored by Pizzarello, geologist Lynda Williams, NMR specialist Gregory Holland and graduate student Stephen Davidowski, all from ASU.

Coincidentally, Sutter's Mill is also the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Detection of the falling meteor by Doppler weather radar allowed for rapid recovery so that scientists could study for the first time a primitive meteorite with little exposure to the elements, providing the most pristine look yet at the surface of primitive asteroids.

"The analyses of meteorites never cease to surprise you... and make you wonder," explains Pizzarello. "This is a meteorite whose organics had been found altered by heat and of little appeal for bio- or prebiotic chemistry, yet, the very Solar System processes that lead to its alteration seem also to have brought about novel and complex molecules of definite prebiotic interest such as polyethers."

Pizzarello and her team hydrothermally treated fragments of the meteorite and then detected the compounds released by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The hydrothermal conditions of the experiments, which also mimic early Earth settings (a proximity to volcanic activity and impact craters), released a complex mixture of oxygen-rich compounds, the probable result of oxidative processes that occurred in the parent body. They include a variety of long chain linear and branched polyethers, whose number is quite bewildering.

This addition to the inventory of organic compounds produced in extraterrestrial environments furthers the discourse of whether their delivery to the early Earth by comets and meteorites might have aided the molecular evolution that preceded the origins of life.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jenny Green
jenny.green@asu.edu
480-965-1430
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists engineer strain of MERS coronavirus for use in a vaccine
2. Singapore scientists discover new RNA processing pathway important in human embryonic stem cells
3. Peering into genetic defects, CU scientists discover a new metabolic disease
4. Youthful stem cells from bone can heal the heart, Temple scientists report
5. UF scientists encounter holes in tree of life, push for better data storage
6. Scientists discover new bat species in West Africa
7. Worlds scientists, researchers and nutrition experts convene to explore the benefits of mushrooms
8. Now hear this: Scientists discover compound to prevent noise-related hearing loss
9. NIH scientists describe how anthrax toxins cause illness, death
10. UCLA scientists receive $2 million grant to improve quality of donor livers for transplant
11. Cancer scientists discover novel way gene controls stem cell self-renewal
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/10/2016)... March 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: ... Protection (CBP) is testing its biometric identity solution at ... to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the ... test, designed to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of ... February and will run until May 2016. --> ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... Fla. , March 9, 2016  Crossmatch ... authentication and enrollment solutions, today announced the addition ... ® Altus multi-factor authentication platform. New ... InfoSec managers to step-up security where it,s needed ... Washington, DC . --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... , March 3, 2016  2016FLEX, organized by ... week highlighting advancements in flexible, hybrid and printed ... setting attendance - have gathered for short courses, ... field of electronics. The Flex Conference celebrates its ... for companies, R&D organizations, and universities contributing to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... 29, 2016 According to ... Research "Separation Systems for Commercial Biotechnology Market - ... Forecast 2015 - 2023", the separation systems for ... Mn in 2014 and is projected to expand ... 2023 to reach US$ 19,227.8 Mn in 2023. ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... Intelligent Implant Systems announced today that the two-level components ... in the United States. These components expand the capabilities of the system and ... beginning in October of 2015, the company has seen significant sales growth in 1Q ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... NEW YORK , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biotechnology acceleration company reports the Company,s CEO  was ... capital titled Accelerators Enter When VCs Fear To ... Life Science Leader magazine is an ... work for everything from emerging biotechs to Big ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... investments in recruiting top industry experts, and expanding its LATAM network and logistics ... tools for clients to manage their clinical trial projects. , The expansion will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: