Researchers say that the same asteroids might have been responsible for the emergence of life on Mars, as it is believed that billions of years ago, the red planet contained water - the main prerequisite for life.
A team of Japanese scientists claims that life on Earth was kickstarted by ancient asteroids that collided with our planet. According to the study, which was published on 8 June in the journal Scientific Reports, the celestial guests established the building blocks for life when they crashed into one of Earth's oceans. The team came to this conclusion by simulating an asteroid impact with the water by firing together iron, water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen via a single-stage propellant gun.
The experiment showed that amino acids such as glycine and alanine formed after the simulated impact. These amino acids are responsible for biological reactions that create life. "The finding of amino acid formation from carbon dioxide and molecular nitrogen demonstrates the importance in making life's building blocks from these ubiquitous compounds", said Yoshihiro Furukawa, a corresponding author of the study, from Tohoku University.
The scientists say that they used nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases as they were major components of Earth's atmosphere in the planet's early days. The researchers note that the same processes that occurred on the Earth might have occurred on Mars, since the red planet had vast amounts of water, while nitrogen and carbon dioxide were also major components of the Martian atmosphere.
"Further investigations will reveal more about the role meteorites played in bringing more complex biomolecules to Earth and Mars”, said Yoshihiro Furukawa.