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Space Earth NASA Science

NASA Discovers Life's Building Block In Comet 148

xp65 writes "NASA scientists have discovered glycine, a fundamental building block of life, in samples of comet Wild 2 returned by NASA's Stardust spacecraft. 'Glycine is an amino acid used by living organisms to make proteins, and this is the first time an amino acid has been found in a comet,' said Jamie Elsila of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. 'Our discovery supports the theory that some of life's ingredients formed in space and were delivered to Earth long ago by meteorite and comet impacts.'"
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NASA Discovers Life's Building Block In Comet

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  • Panspermia? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @10:07AM (#29105149)

    Or "space spooge" as the kids call it these days. So where'd that life come from?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @10:15AM (#29105299)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycine formula is NH2-CH2-CO-OH
    It's not that complicated. Shouldn't we be waiting to get excited about something more complex?

  • Re:How sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsquid0 ( 1335303 ) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @10:23AM (#29105393) Homepage

    No, all it means is that some of the chemicals needed for Earthly life are also found in elsewhere in the Solar System. Given that the entire Solar System formed out of the same molecular cloud that is not very surprising.

  • Re:How sure? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @10:39AM (#29105593)

    This comet orbits the Sun every 6.39 years.
    The chemicals on it might just as well have been knocked off from Earth to begin with as coming from elsewhere in the Solar System.

  • by jj110888 ( 791178 ) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @11:20AM (#29106121) Homepage
    Apparently they can't be bothered to pick up a textbook and learn that Redi and Pasteur proved it doesn't work like that a couple hundred years ago.
    It's call the law of biogenesis.
    Stop spending tax dollars trying to prove your Theory when there is already a scientific law disproving it.

    Because, you know, a scientific "law" is the absolute truth........
    Wikipedia happens to say that the law of biogenesis is "that modern organisms do not spontaneously arise in nature from non-life." Really, what makes you think that we are talking about modern organisms? This "law" is just meant to codify that the common wisdom of the day, that flies will comes from rotten meat, was incorrect.

    Aside from a creationist perspective, you need some kind of abiogenic beginning, and this research helps us understand how this might take place.
  • Re:hypotheses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Latinhypercube ( 935707 ) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @04:07PM (#29110605)
    An even bigger realization is that if organic molecules are abundant is space, ie. in huge interstellar nebulas, and organic molecules are the building blocks of life. Then the chances are that live started out in these giant nebulas rather than on a hot as hell earth with no atmosphere. Once an organic molecule starts to reproduce out in a giant solar system sized cloud of gas, it will spread exponentially throughout that cloud. It would then only take an explosion or a passing comet to spread this self reproducing molecule or virus.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson