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posted by janrinok on Tuesday January 24, @05:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the rocky-beginnings dept.

The research found organic compounds from space which holds the secrets to the origin of life:

New research has been published on the organic analysis of the Winchcombe meteorite which crashed landed onto a driveway in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire in 2021. [...]

In the study, the analysis found a range of organic matter which reveals that the meteorite was once from part of an asteroid where liquid water occurred, and if it that asteroid had been given access to the water, a chemical reaction could have occurred leading to more molecules turning into amino acids and protein - the building blocks of life.

[...] "Winchcombe belongs to a rare type of carbonaceous meteorite which typically contains a rich inventory of organic compounds and water. The first Winchcombe meteorite stone was recovered within 12 hours of the fireball observation event and properly curated to restrict any terrestrial contamination. This allowed us to study the organic signature truly essential to the meteorite itself.

"Studying the organic inventory of the Winchcombe meteorite provided us with a window into the past, how simple chemistry kick started the origin of life at the birth of our solar system. Discovering these life's precursor organic molecules allowed us to comprehend the fall of similar material to the surface of the Earth, prior to the emergence of life on our own planet.

Journal Reference:
Queenie H. S. Chan, Jonathan S. Watson, Mark A. Sephton, et al., The amino acid and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compositions of the promptly recovered CM2 Winchcombe carbonaceous chondrite [open], Meteorit Planet Sci, 2023. DOI:

Original Submission

Related Stories

Collected Samples from the Asteroid Ryugu Contain RNA Component 6 comments

Uracil found in Ryugu samples:

Researchers have analyzed samples of asteroid Ryugu collected by the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa2 spacecraft and found uracil—one of the informational units that make up RNA, the molecules that contain the instructions for how to build and operate living organisms. Nicotinic acid, also known as Vitamin B3 or niacin, which is an important cofactor for metabolism in living organisms, was also detected in the same samples.

This discovery by an international team, led by Associate Professor Yasuhiro Oba at Hokkaido University, adds to the evidence that important building blocks for life are created in space and could have been delivered to Earth by meteorites.

"Scientists have previously found nucleobases and vitamins in certain carbon-rich meteorites, but there was always the question of contamination by exposure to the Earth's environment," Oba explained. "Since the Hayabusa2 spacecraft collected two samples directly from asteroid Ryugu and delivered them to Earth in sealed capsules, contamination can be ruled out."

"We found uracil in the samples in small amounts, in the range of 6–32 parts per billion (ppb), while vitamin B3 was more abundant, in the range of 49–99 ppb," Oba elaborated. "Other biological molecules were found in the sample as well, including a selection of amino acids, amines and carboxylic acids, which are found in proteins and metabolism, respectively." The compounds detected are similar but not identical to those previously discovered in carbon-rich meteorites.

"The discovery of uracil in the samples from Ryugu lends strength to current theories regarding the source of nucleobases in the early Earth," Oba concludes. "The OSIRIS-REx mission by NASA will be returning samples from asteroid Bennu this year, and a comparative study of the composition of these asteroids will provide further data to build on these theories."

Journal Reference:
Oba, Y., Koga, T., Takano, Y. et al. Uracil in the carbonaceous asteroid (162173) Ryugu. Nat Commun 14, 1292 (2023).

Building Blocks of Life Found in Meteorite Which Crashed Landed in Gloucestershire
Asteroid Material Returned by Japan Probe is Oldest Material Identified and Contains 23 Amino Acids
All Five DNA and RNA Nucleobases Found in Meteorites

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SingularityPhoenix on Tuesday January 24, @05:24PM (1 child)

    by SingularityPhoenix (23544) on Tuesday January 24, @05:24PM (#1288387)

    Maybe the building blocks of life are the building blocks of life because they're common, not rare. A few molecules that we use are not even a self sustaining chemical reaction, let alone life. If they had found evidence that these came from a self sustaining chemical reaction that would be in the headline.

    Don't get me wrong, its great they're hunting for them. Maybe they can learn more about the origins of life on our planet. But I'm skeptical its sensational (but then news outlets are sensationalizing everything).

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by turgid on Tuesday January 24, @07:04PM

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 24, @07:04PM (#1288404) Journal

      I think you're right, and I think that it's only a matter of time until we discover extraterrestrial life. Whether that's 10 years, 100 years or even 1000, I think we will. We've only really developed "proper science" in the last 300 hundred years and our space exploration is still very primitive.

  • (Score: 2) by TrentDavey on Tuesday January 24, @05:25PM (6 children)

    by TrentDavey (1526) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 24, @05:25PM (#1288388)

    The objects that come from outer space and land without crashing will probably have an even greater range of "organic matter".
    Depends on what you define as organic.

    I guess it could also be an unmanned (un-aliened?) scout drone so the range of organic matter would be zero and of no interest.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Freeman on Tuesday January 24, @06:02PM (5 children)

      by Freeman (732) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 24, @06:02PM (#1288390) Journal

      From a Christian perspective, I don't believe we'll ever see alien artifacts/ufos/etc that have crash landed or just visiting. That doesn't mean I believe there are no aliens (Clue Stick #1 God, Clue Stick #2 Angels). What kind of technology they could possess or lack thereof, I have no clue. I'm of the opinion that we don't understand enough about our physical world to even point to the things that what we don't understand. As far as what actually makes things work. There's an animated film called All-Star Superman. Lex Luthor gains Superman's powers for a very short amount of time. That's what I think it will be like for everyone once Jesus returns. When we are resurrected or transformed into what our perfect self should have been, without sin. Now, obviously the Lex Luthor example is just someone's limited imagination taking a crack at things. But, they may not be far off from the truth. []

      Lex Luthor:
      Better than okay. I can see the entire electromagnetic spectrum and those must be atoms, little clouds of possibility. Einstein couldn't connect the gravitational force to the other three, but if he could have seen this... It's so obvious.

      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 2) by turgid on Tuesday January 24, @06:39PM (3 children)

        by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 24, @06:39PM (#1288398) Journal

        From a Christian perspective, I don't believe we'll ever see alien artifacts/ufos/etc that have crash landed or just visiting.

        That's an interesting claim. From a purely physical point of view, I don't think we're likely to see them due to the distances, travel times and energies involved.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, @07:48PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, @07:48PM (#1288413)

          Thus proving the Bible is 100% correct.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Freeman on Tuesday January 24, @11:05PM

          by Freeman (732) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 24, @11:05PM (#1288447) Journal

          Just from the sheer vastness of space, the times required to travel, the complexities of space travel, etc. Even, if I were wrong about God and religion and life. The mind-bogglingly hugeness of space, could prevent any civilization or life forms from ever discovering, let alone meeting another alien species. That's assuming, we would actually identify the other forms of life as life as we know it. Without some near magical technology that we have yet to barely even imagine, the vastness of space would keep us from finding other life forms. I believe we aren't the only life forms in existence, beyond God and the Angels (Satan/Lucifer is a fallen Angel). We're just not allowed contact, due to the fall of man (sin). I mean, you generally step around a giant pile of dung, if at all possible, right?

          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 4, Touché) by cmdrklarg on Tuesday January 24, @10:44PM

        by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 24, @10:44PM (#1288445)

        I think that religion is a huge prank played on humanity by space aliens. Is it God, or just sufficiently advanced technology?

        Answer now is don't give in; aim for a new tomorrow.
  • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday January 24, @09:11PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 24, @09:11PM (#1288426) Homepage Journal

    Winchcombe is saturated with life. Any sterile rock landing in Winchhcombe will be contaminated within moments of landing. That, despite claims by the local teenage mutants that the place is dead, and there is no night life.

    Abortion is the number one killed of children in the United States.
  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by billbellum on Tuesday January 24, @10:31PM

    by billbellum (18539) on Tuesday January 24, @10:31PM (#1288441)

    Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

    How far is that from Redding? (CBC reference, eh?)