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Thread: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

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    Post Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    By Rossella Lorenzi

    Iron meteorites may have been responsible for the evolution of life on Earth, according to NASA funded research.

    In a study to be published shortly in the journal Astrobiology, University of Arizona's Dante Lauretta, assistant professor of planetary sciences, and doctoral candidate Matthew Pasek, suggest that iron meteorites brought enough phosphorus to Earth to give rise to biomolecules which eventually assembled into living, replicating organisms.

    Phosphorus plays a key role for life on Earth. It forms bonds with sugar to provide structure to DNA and RNA, and is vital to metabolism because it is linked with life's fundamental fuel, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy that powers growth and movement.

    Moreover, it provides support for life as part of the phospholipids that make up cell walls and the bones of vertebrates.

    "Despite its importance, studies of the early evolution of life on the Earth have been plagued by a lack of phosphorus in the terrestrial environment.

    "Much of the phosphate on Earth is bound in insoluble phosphorus salts and mineral, like apatite. As such, the amount of phosphorus available for the evolution of life using terrestrial minerals is minimal," Pasek told Discovery News.

    Meteorites have several different minerals that contain phosphorus. The most important one is iron-nickel phosphide, known as schreibersite.

    Extremely rare on Earth, this metallic compound is ubiquitous in meteorites, especially iron meteorites.

    In a lab experiment, the researchers mixed schreibersite with room-temperature, fresh, de-ionized water and analyzed the liquid mixture using nuclear magnetic resonance.

    "We saw a whole slew of different phosphorus compounds being formed. One of the most interesting ones was P2O7 (two phosphorus atoms with seven oxygen atoms), one of the more biochemically useful forms of phosphate, similar to what is found in ATP," Pasek said.

    Previous experiments have formed P2O7, or pyrophosphate, but only at high temperatures or under extreme conditions, never by simply dissolving a mineral in room-temperature water.

    "This allows us to somewhat constrain where the origins of life may have occurred. If you are going to have phosphate-based life, it likely would have had to occur near a fresh water region where a meteorite had recently fallen. We can go so far, maybe, as to say it was an iron meteorite," Pasek said.

    Studies on the geochemical environment of the genesis of life presented last week at the 32nd World Geological Conference in Florence, Italy, support the U.S. research.

    "Indeed, meteorites may have been the potential source of organic compounds on the early Earth," Vinod Tewari of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, India, said.

    Phosphorus' link with ATP is especially important, according to Erik Galimov, of the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Moscow.

    "There are quite evident prerequisites of life: presence of water, availability of primary organic compounds, source of energy, and favorable range of temperature.

    "However, there should be some additional key factor providing chemical evolution toward the genesis of life. ATP is a key compound," Galimov said.

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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    Yes, I knew meteorites did make Earth's life. I read a lot of books on meteorites. I believe that the meteorites did. Comets gave Earth waters and rocks. Asteroids gave Earth more rocks. Both Comets and asteroids gave Earth life. Jews thought God gave the Earth Life. Jews may be wrong. Because Jews are not scienists, or not astronomers, or not geologists and they're religions! I don't like religions. I like geology and astronomy. Geologists and astronomers talk real stories about meteorites make them (planets). I wonder or I don't know who make our humans? How do the earth get the life of people, animals and insects? HOW?
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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    religion is what makes humans human.

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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    The religion made humans? But, it's strange. Who know how to create a human. Like Bible said, God made two humans looks like Adam and Eve. But, Earth has not one race and world's races are different of whites, blacks, Japanese, Khoisan and Asian. I read my books. This books said, where white people came from Africa. Oldest white people were out of Africa and migrate to Egypte, to South Russia. Later to Europe. Earth has the different races of mankind.
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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    no, i mean the belief in religion is what distinguishes humans from other animals who dont think about much other than survival and reproduction.

    im not talking about any particular religion.

    i think humans came into existence when they started thinking about beyond the life they were in

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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    Quote Originally Posted by nätdeutsch View Post
    no, i mean the belief in religion is what distinguishes humans from other animals who dont think about much other than survival and reproduction.

    im not talking about any particular religion.

    i think humans came into existence when they started thinking about beyond the life they were in
    Oh, I understand you. Thank you for my understanding.
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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    So, if someone is an atheist, they are not human? What distinguishes us from animals is our rational conscious mind.

    BTW, microbes is what all life came from. Microbes live throughout the universe.
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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    im not saying that.

    even atheists think about metaphysics, which is exactly what i said, belief, or longing, or even thinking about a future existence.

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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    Religion is originates in the step forward when our animal ancestors ceased to be creatures who only relied on their instincts to interpret their world. In that you are right, but religion also could be considered something we used to interpret this world and our surroundings before science avanced enough to prove it obsolete.

    Culturally, it has had the same function, only that it's replacement is yet to be found. We need to develop a purely atheist morale and basic culture. But more about that in other threads.

    Im quite surprised it gives pyrophosphoric acid. I'd expect PH3 (phosphine) or similar given the iron/nickel being reduced.

    Pyrophosphoric acid is H3P2O7, an acid that slowly (or, in geological terms quickly) hydrates itself to form H3PO4, ordinary phosphoric acid, which likes calcium and forms insoluble phosphate with it.

    What use would developing organisms have of this quickly-diminishing supply? As a start, perhaps, but I dont think they relied on polyphosphates in their chemistry before they themselves could derive it from the surrounding sea.

    The world was considerably more acidic when life first appeared. The atmosphere was of volcanic origin, consisting of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, ammonia, water vapour... It was, if you leave the difference in nitrogen content out, much closer to the atmosphere of present day venus that today's earth. Both temperature and atmoshperic pressure was much higher than today.

    Sulfur from volcanic eruptions resulted in the water having a content of sulfuric acid, in which calcium phosphate is somewhat more soluble, resulting in a small formation of gypsum and free phosphoric acid. Phosphorus content in water today is as low as 70ppb. That is 70mg/m^3. Apparently this is enough for sea plants and algae. Therefore, I see no need for meteoritic phosphorus.

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    Re: Study: Meteorites Gave Earth Life

    Of course I meant "oxidised", the P should be reduced.

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