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:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, ... secure authentication solutions, today announced that it has ... Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation ... program. "Innovation has been a driving ... Thor program will allow us to innovate and ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Florida , April 11, 2017 ... a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors ... Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s ... ... of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. ... the server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across ... has already secured over 15 million users across the ... of connected home product suites and physical access represent ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... Linda, Ca (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2017 ... ... hear from a practicing internist, who will review how testing for 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D ... that prompt ordering of 25-OH-vitamin D and 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D. , Dr. Gregory ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... The ... Communication Award goes to Jayson Lusk, a consummate communicator who promotes agricultural science ... advocate for science, as he explains how innovation and growth in agriculture are ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... Beach, SC (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 ... ... the mind, has teamed up with NASA to showcase the future of deep ... Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft and includes a guest appearance ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... Kong (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... hosted in EMEA and North America this May on ... May 16-18 , Donald H. Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute ...
Breaking Biology Technology: