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Amino acids from space?

  1. Aug 11, 2016 #1
    After having a debate with somebody about amino acids found in space, they replied, " As for the amino acids, we simply have no evidence that they can actually form in space -- it is indeed quite a ridiculous assertion. I am reminded of a PhD named Hugh Ross who actually talked about something on Mars that may be discovered in the future, and he had quite a good hypothesis on how life on Earth could actually be somehow found on Mars. He points out that the early Earth was repeatedly bombarded with thousands of asteroids/meteorites/comets, and with these thousands of impacts, it would shake some life and life remains, amino acids, amongst other things off of the Earth and into space -- once these things get into space and start getting throughout our solar system, they can easily get on the comets/meteoroids in our solar system, and thus extrapolating the hypothesis Hugh Ross formed of Earth's life on Mars, it can account for amino acids on asteroids/meteorites/comets. " After reading this hypothesis, it seemed absurd to me. It would be helpful if somebody could educate me on this topic.
     
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  3. Aug 11, 2016 #2

    Bystander

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    Which is the question? Amino acid formation in space? (No.) Or, formation on some planet/other body and ballistic transport? (Yes.)
     
  4. Aug 11, 2016 #3
    Both if you don't mind.
     
  5. Aug 11, 2016 #4

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  6. Aug 11, 2016 #5

    Bandersnatch

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  7. Aug 11, 2016 #6

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    I'll stand with the assertion of a ballistic source; collision rates in free space are simply too low.
     
  8. Aug 12, 2016 #7

    mfb

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    Collisions that emit material from Earth are incredibly rare. I would be very surprised if that is sufficient to produce all the amino acids observed in the solar system, and it certainly does not explain amino acids in interstellar splace. What is wrong with amino acid formation on dust particles, comets or other objects without such a deep gravity well and "atmosphere shield"?
     
  9. Aug 12, 2016 #8
    Amino acids are not particularly complicated molecules.
    The fact that they are an essential component of life as we know it, does not mean that their presence in space is anything to do with life.
    Given the right mixture of (fairly commonplace) elements in a gas cloud, and probably a bit of high energy radiation to stir things up, simple organic molecules are not surprising.
    Alcohol (of the drinking type, ethanol), is also found in some parts of space, that doesn't mean there is a bar somewhere in the area.
    I think it is more likely that whatever kickstarted life involved these simple organics because they were already there,
    as opposed to life having caused them to be there.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  10. Aug 13, 2016 #9
    This is in principle correct, but there are still two questions: Were these simple organics amino acids and did they came from space? And I'm afraid we will never know for sure.
     
  11. Aug 17, 2016 #10
    Even if the density of molecules in an interstellar gas cloud in not dense enough for molecules to form shock wave through this media can change these densities sufficiently to change that.
     
  12. Aug 17, 2016 #11

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    ... and, the reverse reaction?
     
  13. Aug 17, 2016 #12
    Did complex organic compounds arise in space or were they created and then ejected from planets? Why must it be one or the other? The answer is almost certainly both.
    Experiments with pure lab grade MgO crystals––grown from the melt––have demonstrated that organic compounds, chiefly long aliphatic chains, are rapidly and spontaneously synthesized within the crystal itself. This research is not at all speculative. Over 300 compounds have been directly observed, most created by the addition of additional monomers to a growing chain. This process occurs wherever crystallization of oxide materials occurs "within a gas-rich environment." That is to say it occurs virtually everywhere from the titanic outpourings of exploding supernovas, to the ash and lava spewed from volcanoes, to the crystallizing magmas deep within the Earth, these solid-solution chemistry and solid-state physics effects obtain. A great deal of this research has been done at NASA-Ames Research Center by Dr. Friedemann Freund and his late son Dr. Mino Freund.
    The existence of these organic compounds within the interstellar dust––and their ready synthesis by the same rock crystallization process in the laboratory––strongly suggests that the vast preponderance of organic compounds in the universe are created not by living systems, nor within idealized "warm puddle" conditions, but in the most unexpected of origins––solid rock. Almost as a bonus, this process also sequesters a previously unanticipated reservoir of reduced hydrogen within the crust and mantle, which is vast if dispersed thinly.
    Much has been hypothesized about the products of cold gaseous chemistry within the dust clouds. Surface synthesis may well occur, but such products are vulnerable to periodic destruction by supernovas. An interesting consequence of this solid solution chemistry process is that the products, arising within the rock, rapidly reform when the rock is melted and cools. Even within microscopic grains, components like C, H and N can be conserved, reduced and recombined from melt to solid phase as these reduced components are systematically excluded from the crystal. Thus, our universe is virtually awash in complex organic polymers and their monomer components––from rocky planets and asteroids to the most evanescent dust clouds. Solid solution chemistry rocks!
     
  14. Aug 17, 2016 #13
    Welcome to PF, nice first post.
     
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