Ingredients for life hitching ride on space dust, study says

Water and organic compounds could be hitching a ride through space on interplanetary dust particles.

(Credit: UH SOEST/LLNL,John Bradley)

For years, astronomers have been scanning nearby asteroids, the moon, Mars, and deeper space for evidence of the building blocks of life.

Now, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that both water and organic material could actually have our planet surrounded, floating around space on ubiquitous interplanetary dust particles that constantly rain down on Earth and the other bodies in our solar system.

“It is a thrilling possibility that this influx of dust has acted as a continuous rainfall of little reaction vessels containing both the water and organics needed for the eventual origin of life on Earth and possibly Mars,” researcher and study co-author Hope Ishii of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology said in a release.

Translation: tiny trace amounts of water and organics left over from the birth… [Read more]

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