Asteroids 'sparked life on Earth by smashing into planet', researchers claim

Asteroids impacting Earth and Mars may have sparked life on both planets, scientists said.

The space rocks acted as a gun that brought different materials together into amino acids that researchers said were the first traces of life when they hit water.

Over time, the molecules they brought with them have formed life on Earth and possibly the red planet, they add.

Japanese scientists have two explanations of how life on Earth began – either through “extraterrestrial delivery” brought by meteorites or through natural formation on Earth.

The investigation appears to point to the ‘extraterrestrial’ option, according to numerous Japanese institutions that conducted the investigation.



Asteroids 'sparked life on Earth by smashing into planet', researchers claim

Professor Yoshihiro Furukawa of Tohoku University said the theoretical impact “provides a potential source of ingredients for life.”

He added, “The study discovered the emergence of amino acids that serve as building blocks for proteins.

“The presence of amino acids and other biomolecules in meteorites points to the extraterrestrial theory.”

Researchers who conducted the study used carbon dioxide and nitrogen in their experiment because the gases were the major components in the early Earth’s atmosphere.



Asteroids 'sparked life on Earth by smashing into planet', researchers claim

Mars’ conditions could also be similar to those on ancient Earth some four billion years ago, before it was stripped of its magnetic shield.

Dr. Furukawa said, “It is not difficult to make organic molecules from reduced compounds such as methane and ammonia.

“But they were considered small components in the atmosphere at the time.”

The study was released when NASA tracked an asteroid larger than Big Ben that struck Earth at 15,000 mph last week.

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