RNA Space: Building Block Of Life May Be Abundant In Space, Is The Panspermia Theory True?

Louis Babcock

RNA, ribonucleic acid, is one of three molecules essential in the formation of life. Without RNA, no life on Earth could exist. One of the questions that have baffled scientists is how life started on Earth. Was it a spontaneous process that just happened by luck? Are the building blocks of life abundant in space as the panspermia theory suggests and the molecules necessary for life to develop were "seeded" here? Scientists may have answered this question.

An experiment performed by Cornelia Meinert, an associate scientist at the University Nice Sophia Antipolis, showed that ribose, the sugar in RNA, can be found in comets. In her experiment, Meinert created a simulated comet based on data gathered from the Rosetta mission. The composition of the comet was completely accurate. The comet was then hit with simulated radiation that would have been similar to the radiation that would have been given off by the Sun from millions of years ago. When the experiment was finished, Meinert discovered organic molecules were left over. From the organic molecules, RNA and other essential molecules for life were identified. The other molecules discovered were amino acids, carboxylic acids, and alcohols.

"We are confronted with a very complex sample containing a huge diversity of molecules. The identification of individual compounds is therefore very difficult. Our ice simulation is a very general process that can occur in molecular clouds as well as in protoplanetary disks. It shows that the molecular building blocks of the potentially first genetic material are abundant in interstellar environments."

— Particle Science (@ParticleSci) April 8, 2016

"If all these molecules that are necessary for life are everywhere out in space, the case gets a lot better that you'll find life outside of Earth."

Do you think the RNA from ancient Earth came from somewhere in space?

[Image Via Shutterstock/Cessna152]

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