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Friday, December 17, 2010

Amino acids found in a Meteorite!

  


Artist's depiction of life falling to Earth on a meteorite, according to the panspermia hypothesis
(Source: Internet Encyclopedia of Science: http://www.daviddarling.info/
encyclopedia/B/ballpans.html
)



NASA-funded scientists have discovered amino acids, a fundamental building block of life, in a meteorite!!

Dr. Daniel Glavin of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. the lead scientist in the study, states:

"The shock of the collision heated it to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough that all complex organic molecules like amino acids should have been destroyed, but we found them anyway."

"Finding them in this type of meteorite suggests that there is more than one way to make amino acids in space, which increases the chance for finding life elsewhere in the Universe."

"The (scientific) team thinks it's unlikely amino acids could have survived the conditions that created the meteorite, which endured higher temperatures – more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (over 1,100 Celsius) – over a much longer period. "It would be hard to transfer amino acids from an impactor to another body simply because of the high-energy conditions associated with the impact," said Bada."

"Instead, the team believes there’s an alternate method for making amino acids in space. "Previously, we thought the simplest way to make amino acids in an asteroid was at cooler temperatures in the presence of liquid water. This meteorite suggests there’s another way involving reactions in gases as a very hot asteroid cools down," said Glavin. The team is planning experiments to test various gas-phase chemical reactions to see if they generate amino acids."

To read the entire article please click on the following link:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-blocks-life-impossible.html

If you haven't taken biology or chemistry in a while, like myself, here is a refresher on amino acids.

"Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They band together in chains to form the stuff from which your life is born. Think of amino acids as Legos for your life."
"It's a two-step process: Amino acids get together and form peptides or polypeptides. It is from these groupings that proteins are made. And there's not just one kind of amino acid."
"A total of 20 different kinds of amino acids form proteins,Three of those — phenylalanine, tryptophan, and valine — are essential amino acids for humans.The essential amino acids cannot be synthesized by the body; instead, they must be ingested through food.
One of the best-known essential amino acids is tryptophan, which performs several critical functions for people. Tryptophan helps induce normal sleep; helps reduce anxiety, depression, and artery spasm risk; and helps produce a stronger immune system.Amino acids make up 75% of the human body. They are essential to nearly every bodily function. Every chemical reaction that takes place in your body depends on amino acids and the proteins that they build.
The essential amino acids must be ingested every day. Failure to get enough of even one of the 10 essential amino acids can result in protein degradation. The human body simply does not store amino acids for later use, as it does with fats and starches.

Source:http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-amino-acids.htm 

To read other news articles about this discovery please click on the following links:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/releases/2010/10-111.html 

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/asteroid-collision-meteoroid-amino-acids-life-101215.html 

 http://www.astrochem.org/amino.html

Wow, if these scientists found amino-acids in a meteorite does that indicate more evidence that life as we know it exists somewhere out there in the Universe?



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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.