The Origins of Life Could Indeed Be “Interstellar”

Star-forming region in interstellar space.  Image credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Star-forming region in interstellar space.
Image credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Some of science’s most pressing questions involve the origins of life on Earth. How did the first lifeforms emerge from the seemingly hostile conditions that plagued our planet for much of its history? What enabled the leap from simple, unicellular organisms to more complex organisms consisting of many cells working together to metabolize, respire, and reproduce? In such an unfamiliar environment, how does one even separate “life” from non-life in the first place?

Now, scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa believe that they may have an answer to at least one of those questions. According to the team, a vital cellular building block called glycerol may have first originated via chemical reactions deep in interstellar space.
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Read the rest of The Origins of Life Could Indeed Be “Interstellar” (530 words)


© Vanessa Janek for Universe Today, 2014. |
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