TECH

Life On Earth Began With Comets, Scientists Say As New Research Emerges

19/08/2015 12:55 BST | Updated 19/08/2015 12:59 BST

Scientists have used a series of lab-based experiments to show how comets could have kickstarted life on earth through.

In a study published by Geochemical Journal, researchers from the Nagoya University in Japan showed how the impact of a comet could facilitate the formation of the basic building blocks of life -- peptides.

Through a number of shock experiments, the team used a propellant gun to administer a comet-like impact to a frozen mixture of amino acid glycine, water ice, and silicate (forsterite).

What they found was the amino acids were able to form more complex peptides -- molecules that make up proteins.

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Lead author Dr. Haruna Sugahara said "This finding indicates that comet impacts almost certainly played an important role in delivering the 'seeds of life' to the early Earth.

"It also opens the likelihood that we will have seen similar chemical evolution in other extraterrestrial bodies, starting with cometary derived peptides."

The results are an exciting addition to research published in June confirming the existence of organic compounds on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P).

In a series of nine papers published in the latest issue of Science, researchers reported they had found a host of organic compounds, including water (in the form of ice), carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.