Scientists presented their evidence today that desert heat, a little water, and meteorite impacts may have been enough to cook up one of the first prerequisites for life three or four billion years ago: The dominance of “left-handed” amino acids, the building blocks of life on this planet.
In a report at the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Ronald Breslow, Ph.D., University Professor, Columbia University, and former ACS President, described his take on how our amino acid signature came from outer space.
Numerous theories have been put forth to explain the dominance of L-amino acids. One, for instance, suggests polarized light from neutron stars traveled all the way to earth to “zap” right-handed amino acids directly. “But the evidence that these materials are being formed out there and brought to us on meteorites is overwhelming,” said Breslow.