Something from nothing? No problem.

In the early stages of the Earth’s development, it was covered in many of the same elements it has now.  Water, nitrogen, oxygen, and minerals like carbon, nickle, iron and sulfur.

The Earth was without life.

Organic life requires much more complicated compounds which don’t seem to form on their own. Biologists have struggled with this for centuries.  It’s difficult to study the early stages of life on earth when you don’t know where the basic building blocks came from. Recently a discovery was made that may have much to say about the formation of complex compounds on Earth.

The Science Channel was covering the Japanese Kaguya Lunar Orbiter mission and it’s impact on science and interviewed Dr Takeshi Kakegawa of Tohoku University in one of the segments.

Dr  Kakegawa was studying meteor impacts and did a very interesting experiment.

First, the researchers filled tiny, thick-walled canisters of stainless steel with various mixtures of carbon, iron and nickel — common constituents of meteorites— and water, ammonia and nitrogen, significant components of the ancient ocean and atmosphere. Then, the team fired the canisters at a solid target. The shock of impact briefly subjected the enclosed materials to temperatures approaching 4,700° Celsius and pressures about 60,000 times that of the atmosphere at sea level. These temperature and pressures are similar to those that would be caused by a large meteorite slamming into Earth at about 2 kilometers per second, says Kakegawa.

(source : Meteorites could have thickened primordial soup)

His team analyzed the container after it was smashed.

Water, iron, oxygen, nitrogen, and amino acids.

Wait WHAT!?!

Amino acids?

So meteor impacts may not just be the destructive events we’ve been conditioned to fear, but may actually create the compounds necessary to life.

I wonder what we could create if we put some Abba CD’s in that thing and smashed them?

Probably nothing.

But it would be fun to smash them. You know, for science.

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