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NASA finds sugar in meteorites that crashed on Earth



An international team of scientists discovered "meteorites" containing other biologically important sugars, according to a NASA press release on Tuesday.

Asteroids – rocky near-Earth objects of the sun – are the parent bodies of most meteorites. And the theory suggests that chemical reactions within asteroids can create some of the essential elements for life.

In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analyzed three meteorites, including one that landed in Australia in 1969 and dates back billions of years. Previous studies have also tried to investigate sugar meteors – but this time researchers used a different extraction method using hydrochloric acid and water.

Researchers found sugars such as arabinose and xylose ̵

1; but the most significant finding was ribose.

 A model of the molecular structure of ribose found in a meteorite.

Ribose plays an extremely important role in our human biology. It exists in our RNA (ribonucleic acid) molecules and delivers messages from our DNA to help build proteins for our bodies, according to a press release.

"It is remarkable that in such a molecule can be found as fragile as ribose. ancient material, "said NASA's Jason Dworkin, co-author of the study, in a press release.

The discovery of ribose also suggests that RNA evolved before DNA, giving scientists a clearer picture of how life could have been shaped.

DNA has long been regarded as a "template for life" – but RNA molecules have more options, such as replication without the aid of other molecules, according to a press release, these additional capabilities, combined with the fact that researchers have not yet discovered sugars in DNA in meteorites, supports The theory that "RNA coordinated the machine of life before DNA."

  A composition for life found in meteorites that crashed on Earth [19659012] A composition for life found in meteorites that crashed on Earth "Research provides the first direct evidence of ribose in space and the delivery of sugar to Earth," said Yoshihiro Furukawa of the Tohoku University of Japan, lead author of the study, in a press release.

"Extraterrestrial sugar may have contributed to the formation of prebiotic Earth RNA, which may have led to the origin of life."

Of course, meteorites are likely to have been contaminated with Earth life – but testing found evidence that this it is also unlikely that sugars may have come from space.

Now, researchers will continue to analyze meteorites to see how abundant these sugars are and how they may have affected the life of the Earth.

This study adds to the growing list of evidence that meteorites may have led to terrestrial life. Last January, researchers discovered that two meteorites hold other ingredients for life: amino acids, hydrocarbons, other organic substances, and traces of liquid water that can date to the earliest days of our solar system.

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