Skip to comments.“Space rock” reveals life’s origins
Posted on 10/07/2008 3:06:26 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Washington, Oct 06: A meteorite, which crashed into Australia 40 years ago, is telling researchers new things about how life may have started on Earth, and how that almost universal protein left-handedness came to be.
For more than 150 years, scientists have known that the most basic building blocks of life - chains of amino acid molecules and the proteins they form - almost always have the unusual characteristic of being overwhelmingly left-handed.
The molecules, of course, have no hands, but they are almost all asymmetrical in a way that parallels left-handedness.
This observation, first made in the 1800s by French chemist Louis Pasteur, is taught to introductory organic chemistry students - until recently with the caveat that nobody knew how this came to be.
But research into the question has picked up in recent years, focusing on a 200-pound chunk of rock found 40 years ago in Murchison, Australia.
A meteorite that broke off an asteroid long ago, it brought to Earth a rich collection of carbon-based material from far away in the solar system.
According to a report in Washington Post, while the Murchison meteorite does not have any once-living material, it is telling researchers new things about how life may have started on Earth, and how that almost universal protein left-handedness came to be.
The answer they believe they have found is that 3 billion to 4 billion years ago, before life on Earth began, similar meteorites crashed regularly into the planet - delivering the amino acids that would later be incorporated into all living things.
The meteorites did this by providing building blocks with a slight preponderance of that handedness (known scientifically as chirality) that makes life possible.
We know that all amino acids start mirror-image the same, but in living things they have this handedness, said Ronald Breslow, a Columbia University researcher.
This change doesnt happen spontaneously, and weve never been able to reproduce it in the laboratory under conditions similar to early Earth, he added.
The answer to where it comes from looks increasingly like meteorites, from extraterrestrial bodies falling to Earth. Its a complex story, but were beginning to understand it better, he further added.
Breslow and his colleagues made significant progress recently when they proved that the Murchison amino acids could transfer their left-handedness to otherwise symmetrical amino acids.
They then found that small degrees of chirality could be dramatically amplified in a water solution under conditions similar to the early Earth.
Their conclusion was that even the relatively limited number of additional left-handed amino acids in the meteorites could, under the right conditions, lead to a world where almost all amino acids and proteins end up left-handed.
Bet ya God is surprised....
The study of this rock has sinister implications!
So I guess it’s inevitable that the world will eventually be ruled by the Left. They certainly seem to be on a roll these days.
We shouls all be southpaws then.
“Space Rock”... I thought this was a thread about Pink Floyd... sorry...
I don't think -anything- surprises God.
After all, He probably sent that rock to Earth, whether directly or indirectly....
No, man, the Grateful Dead.... oh wow....
You got that right...He ought to send some stuff that blows all their thinking out of the water!!!!
lol ... clever.
Of course, this doesn't actually "solve" the mystery at all -- it merely transfers the mystery to the formation of these left-handed amino acids from Earth, to an asteroid.
I certainly hope they handle this rock with the appropriate level of dexterity.
Heh, He does. On a fairly regular basis.
That's why the proper study of science -- the true scientific method -- is completely compatible with a belief in a Creator. Indeed, can be considered worshipful. Science, done right, is an attempt to understand what God has created, by making up models that we can wrap our limited minds around. That lets us better appreciate and wonder at the glories of the universe.
And every time we think we've got a model that explains everything we observe, we discover yet another thing that makes us reconsider and expand our model to encompass the latest gift from our Creator. (That's why science is always adjusting itself, correcting its views.)
Personally, I think of God as the original Scientific Experimenter. In my view, all of Creation is His "lab", and we are his "experiment".
(Deep voice) "Heh, I wonder what they'll think of -this- one...!"
> I certainly hope they handle this rock with the appropriate level of dexterity.
You're absolutely right.
I didn't check for Helen Thomas pics, and don't wanna. And don't none a you smart alecks post me none of them.
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And the rock evolved into liberals.
. . while the Murchison meteorite does not have any once-living material, . how life may have started on Earth, . . they believe . . meteorites could, under the right conditions, . .
Yup, just another religion based on faith.
It's early rock.
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