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Life from space, other evidence in the asteroids. Meteorites, as “bearers” of amino acids, may have “seeded” life in our and other solar systems. Scientists have detected, in a group of meteorites from carbon-rich asteroids, the presence of a rare form of amino acids, called Isovaline levorotatory. Amino acids – essential for the formation of proteins – are divided into two varieties mirror each other: the left-handed (left-polarized) and the right-handed (oriented at right).
Living organisms are made only by the left-handed form, although, according to experts, on the ground that there would be possible for life forms with right-handed amino acids. The presence of isovaline laevogyrate in meteorites shows, according to the researchers of NASA, the possibility that these amino acids are born in space and which are fused with the molecules of terrestrial organisms due to the impact of the heavenly bodies. That hypothesis does not rule identical scenarios in different planets from ours.
Researchers Daniel Glavin and Jason Dworkin (Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA) analyzed some molecular deposits found inside six meteorites found in Antarctica and Australia. These particular rocks have an age that well over 4.5 billion years old and are therefore older than the Earth.
The researchers expected to find an equitable distribution of right and left amino acids in the six analyzed rocks, and have remained very surprised to record a significant predominance of left-handed amino acids in all six studied artifacts. A surprising result, which is launching new questions about the distribution of two types of amino acids not only on Earth but also in our solar system.
According to the two researchers, the predominance of left-handed amino acids could be due to early contacts between amino acids in the meteorites with this ice in the asteroid from which it would be detached. The water, in fact, tends to favor the formation and the predominance of left-handed amino acids. Also, the radiation present in our solar system could facilitate this process, thus leading to the imbalance between the two types of amino acids.
The relative abundance of left-handed molecules in our solar system could, therefore, explain why terrestrial organisms are solely made up of amino acids left-oriented. This conclusion does not seem to convince everyone in the scientific community. It is not excluded that the rocks analyzed by two researchers at NASA have been contaminated by terrestrial organisms after their impact on the surface of the planet. Meteorites may have played a dirty trick!
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