Max Planck Institute for Astronomy | 2017 Oct 02
Astronomers from McMaster University and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have completed calculations that lead to a consistent scenario for the emergence of life on Earth, based on astronomical, geological, chemical and biological models. In this scenario, life forms a mere few hundred million years after Earth’s surface was cool enough for liquid water; the essential building blocks for life were formed in space during the formation of the solar system, and delivered to warm little ponds on Earth by meteorites. The new results have been published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences.
How life began on Earth, roughly 4 billion years ago, is one of the great scientific questions. New results from scientists at McMaster University and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy suggest a key role for meteorites landing in warm little ponds, delivering essential organic molecules that kick-started the emergence of life in the shape of self-replicating RNA molecules.
The astronomers reached their conclusions after assembling models about planet formation, geology, chemistry and biology into a coherent quantitative model for the emergence of life. Perhaps the most interesting result from these calculations is that life must have emerged fairly early, while Earth was still taking shape, only a few hundred million years after the Earth had cooled sufficiently to allow liquid surface water, such as ponds or oceans. The building blocks of life would have been brought to Earth by meteorites during an era when Earth’s bombardment by such small extraterrestrial rocks was much more intense than today. ...
Meteorites may have brought building blocks of life to Earth
McMaster University | 2017 Oct 02
Origin of the RNA world: The fate of nucleobases in warm little ponds - Ben K. D. Pearce et al
- Proceedings of the US NAS (online 2017 Sep 26) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1710339114