Comet hitting Earth
Comets have always fascinated people. Now, scientists have added a new twist to that fascination — comets might have provided the elements for the emergence of life on Earth.
A team at Tel Aviv University, led by Professor Akiva Bar-Nun, has carried out a study and found that comets were the source of missing ingredients needed for life in Earth’s ancient primordial soup, the ‘Icarus’ journal reported. And, according to the scientists, it’s the chemical composition of comets that allowed them to kickstart life.
“When comets slammed into Earth through the atmosphere about four billion years ago, they delivered a payload of organic materials to the young Earth, adding materials that combined with Earth’s own large reservoir of organics and led to the emergence of life,” Prof Bar-Nun said.
Using a one-of-a-kind machine built at Tel Aviv University, the scientists were able to simulate comet ice, and found that comets contain ingredients necessary for providing the basic nutrients of life.
Specifically, they looked at the noble gases Argon, Krypton and Xenon, because they do not interact with any other elements and are not destroyed by Earth’s oxygen. The elements have maintained stable proportions in the Earth’s atmosphere hroughout the lifetime of the planet, the scientists said.