Meteors may have seeded the planet with life-giving ammonia.
New research adds more weight to the claim that the lifeless Earth may have been helped in the right direction by a stray asteroid. Carbon-containing meteorites found in the Antarctic have nitrogen locked away inside them. And when these meteorites are treated with heat, pressure and water, they emit ammonium — which the researchers argue was the precursor to complex biomolecules that formed the first single-celled creatures.
The exciting part? The nitrogen found in the meteorites is measurably different from any found on the Earth. If this hunk of rock isn't our ancient parent, it shows that one like it could very well have been.
Research published in PNAS
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