Research press release


Nature Geoscience

Building life via icy impacts



Mark Priceらは室内実験により、鉄の発射体を彗星で見つかっているのと似た氷の混合物に高速度で打ち込んだ。その衝突によりタンパク質の重要な成分であるd-およびl-アラニンを含むいくつかのアミノ酸が生成された。このことから、研究者は氷の衝突(氷彗星と岩石の惑星か、岩石の小惑星と氷の月であろうと)は、この太陽系に生命をもたらす道筋となり得たと示唆している。

The collision of icy comets with planetary bodies could result in the formation of complex amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, reports a study published online in Nature Geoscience.

The organic precursors of amino acids have been previously detected in a comet, but an energetic process is needed to synthesize the complex amino acids required for life from these simpler ingredients.

Mark Price and colleagues conducted laboratory experiments in which they fired a steel projectile at high velocities into an ice mixture similar to those found in comets. The impacts produced several amino acids, including d- and l-alanine, which are important components of proteins. From this, the researchers suggest that an icy impact - whether from an icy comet onto a rocky planet or a rocky asteroid onto an icy moon - could have been the pathway towards life in our Solar System.

doi: 10.1038/ngeo1930


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