Comets Brought Life to Earth, Says New Evidence

The amino acids that can be found inside comets, which are also the building blocks of life, sustain the heat and pressure of an impact, say researchers, and even form peptide bonds. 

What's the Latest Development?


Scientists have long known that certain amino acids which traverse the cosmos inside of comets are the building blocks for life. Now they believe those amino acids are capable of surviving a fiery planetary impact. Researchers recently recreated the conditions of a terrestrial comet strike using powerful laboratory 'guns' to simulate "the conditions that existed inside comets when these celestial objects hit Earth's atmosphere at almost 25,000 miles per hour and crashed down upon the surface" billions of year ago. 

What's the Big Idea?

The amino acids not only survived the violent impact but the energy produced as a result caused them to form peptide bonds, which link amino acids together to create individual proteins. "Comets really would have been the ideal packages for delivering ingredients for the chemical evolution thought to have resulted in life," said lead researcher Jennifer Blank. "We like the comet delivery scenario because it includes all of the ingredients for lifeamino acids, water and energy." The seeding of life on Earth may have occurred over many comet strikes. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less