A Molecule of Life Found In a Comet
United States - U.S. researchers have discovered in samples of dust from comet Wild 2, traces of glycine, the basic component of proteins necessary for life on earth.

"Our discovery strengthens the theory that some of the basic elements of life were formed in space and were projected on the Earth long ago by impacts of meteorites and comets" said Jamie Elsila researcher center of NASA Goddard, in a statement.

In 2004, the U.S. probe Stardust was sent to less than 250 km from the comet Wild 2 to draw, with panels containing airgel, cometary dust, which were then enclosed in a capsule and parachuted to Earth in January 2006.

After studying these samples, U.S. researchers have discovered the presence of glycine, "an amino acid used by organisms to make proteins" and hence essential to the emergence of life on Earth.

"The discovery of glycine in a comet reinforces the idea that the basic bricks of life are common in space, and underpins the argument that life could be much more widespread in the universe than is think" said Carl Pilcher, director of the Astrobiology Institute of NASA.

After many months of research, the Center Goddard says that the presence of this amino acid on the comet Wild 2 is not due to terrestrial contamination; glycine would therefore be of extraterrestrial origin. This finding reinforces the theory that the first amino acids have arrived on Earth with meteorites or comets, and therefore could allow the emergence of life on other planets.


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