Ancient water-bearing meteorites found to host ingredients essential for life

Zag  Monahans meteorites and their salt crystals  diagram showing the lithologies of the Zag and Monahans meteorites their dark clasts the salt crystals and the fluid and solid inclusions within the salt crystals  salt

When the two rocks fell to Earth, one in Texas and the other a few months later in Morocco, they were preserved by Nasa for further studies.

A detailed analysis of the chemical makeup within tiny blue and purple salt crystals sampled from the two meteorites, known as Monahans and Zag, found a mix of complex organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids, according to the study published Wednesday in the USA journal Science Advances.

Organic remnants recovered from the meteorites don't provide any proof of life outside of Earth, Chan noted. The detailed analysis of the chemical structure of the minuscule purple and blue salt crystals, taken from the meteorites provided certain evidence for the past interactions of the meteor along with the point of origin. You may submit it for our evaluation here and if you do, I might reconsider the claim that we're anywhere closer today to understanding the origin of life than we were before these space rocks were closely studied.

The meteorites fell to Earth in 1998 but the technology available at that time did not have the capability to detect traces of amino acids.

These pair of meteorites crashed in two separate places on Earth after completing circulations on the asteroid belt of our solar system for hundreds of billions of years. The traces of water in the crystals are believed to almost 4.5 billion years old. The crystals were around two millimeters in size and contained organic solids and water traces a mere fraction of the width of human hair.

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Extensive analysis of the salt crystals also revealed the probable origins of the meteorites, including the dwarf planet Ceres and asteroid Hebe as major objects in the asteroid belt.

Amino acids, hydrocarbons and liquid water were all found within the salt and potassium containing crystals, known as halite or rock salt and sylvite.

In the meantime the affluent sediments of organic remains recuperated from the meteorites don't offer any evidence of life outside of Earth, Kilcoyne said that the meteorites' engulfment of rich chemistry is similar to the conservation of primordial insects in solidified sap droplets.

If life did exist in some form in the early Solar System, salt crystal-containing meteorites raise the "possibility of trapping life and/or biomolecules" within the salt crystals. "There is a great range of organic compounds within these meteorites, including a very primitive type of organics that likely represent the early solar system's organic composition".

"Everything leads to the conclusion that the origin of life is really possible elsewhere".


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