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Understanding Prebiotic Chemistry Through the Analysis of Extraterrestrial Amino Acids and Nucleobases in Meteorites
External Online Source: doi:10.1039/C2CS35109A
Author and Affiliation:
Burton, Aaron S.(Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Inc., United States);
Stern, Jennifer C.(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States);
Elsila, Jamie E.(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States);
Glavin, Daniel P.(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States);
Dworkin, Jason P.(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Abstract: The discoveries of amino acids of extraterrestrial origin in many meteorites over the last 50 years have revolutionized the Astrobiology field. A variety of non-terrestrial amino acids similar to those found in life on Earth have been detected in meteorites. A few amino acids have even been found with chiral excesses, suggesting that meteorites could have contributed to the origin of homochirality in life on Earth. In addition to amino acids, which have been productively studied for years, sugar-like molecules, activated phosphates, and nucleobases have also been determined to be indigenous to numerous meteorites. Because these molecules are essential for life as we know it, and meteorites have been delivering them to the Earth since accretion, it is plausible that the origines) of life on Earth were aided by extrataterrestrially-synthesized molecules. Understanding the origins of life on Earth guides our search for life elsewhere, helping to answer the question of whether biology is unique to Earth. This tutorial focuses on meteoritic amino acids and nucleobases, exploring modern analytical methods and possible formation mechanisms. We will also discuss the unique window that meteorites provide into the chemistry that preceded life on Earth, a chemical record we do not have access to on Earth due to geologic recycling of rocks and the pervasiveness of biology across the planet. Finally. we will address the future of meteorite research, including asteroid sample return missions.
Publication Date: Jun 15, 2012
Document ID:
20120014320
(Acquired Oct 05, 2012)
Subject Category: EXOBIOLOGY
Report/Patent Number: GSFC.JA.6870.2012
Document Type: Journal Article
Publication Information: Chemical Society Reviews; Volume 41; Issue 16; 5459-5472
Financial Sponsor: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Greenbelt, MD, United States
Organization Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Greenbelt, MD, United States
Description: 15p; In English; Original contains black and white illustrations
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright
NASA Terms: AMINO ACIDS; ANILINE; BASES (CHEMICAL); CARBON DIOXIDE; CARBONACEOUS CHONDRITES; DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID; EXOBIOLOGY; GAS CHROMATOGRAPHY; GUANINES; ISOTOPE RATIOS; MASS SPECTROSCOPY; METEORITES; NUCLEIC ACIDS; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; POLYMERIZATION; PURINES; RIBONUCLEIC ACIDS; XANTHINES
Availability Source: Other Sources
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