NASA scientists along with researchers from Japan have found a crucial link between life on Earth and asteroids while studying the five components of DNA and RNA. Find out what the study has revealed.
NASA: There has always been that one question in the corner of our mind, how did life begin on Earth? It is quite similar to the question of who came first, chicken or the egg, in a layman’s eye. Perhaps, for a normal individual the answer might boil up from superstitions or based on mythological reasoning. Hence, it is safe to say that different individuals have different theories which try to answer these everlasting questions. However, a group of highly qualified people are here and they have supplied us with scientific reasons for our existence. These include NASA scientists and researchers from top universities of Japan and they might have found some extraordinary – Life on Earth could have come from an asteroid. Read on to find out how they reached that conclusion.
The group of people, made by an international team that included NASA researchers, discovered the last two informational units of DNA and RNA. DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, and RNA, ribonucleic acid, are the molecules which are responsible for carrying and transmitting genetic information in living organisms. Scientists from Hokkaido University of Japan analyzed and identified these two units. This discovery provided additional evidence to prove that chemical reactions in asteroids can produce a few key elements essential for life. These elements could have possibly been transmitted to ancient Earth through meteorite impacts or infall of dust but what exactly are these elements?
NASA scientists find evidence of origin of Life from an Asteroid
All DNA and RNA contain nucleobases, which are the information carrying components. DNA has nucleobases called- adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. Though RNA too has all of them but in place of thymine, it has uracil. With the aforementioned discovery, NASA scientists found the remaining two components in addition to the already discovered three. Scientists believe that ‘cytosine’ and ‘thymine’ must have been degraded due to their delicate structures while extracting samples. They created a ‘meteorite tea’ where a meteorite or an asteroid was placed in a hot bath. However, this time they replaced the hot formic acid, which is quite reactive, with cold water and sensitive analytics were deployed in the hope of picking up the smaller fragments of these molecules from the sample.
Nevertheless, this discovery by NASA scientists does not translate into a confirmation of the emergence of life with the help of an asteroid or its existence due to the ‘prebiotic soup’ of the ancient Earth. What it translates into is a start for the scientists to experiment more compounds in their labs and go to the roots about answering the question of life.