N.A.S.A. Announces Discovery of Sugars in Meteorites



(Washington, D.C.) In March of the year 2015, N.A.S.A. reported that, it successfully formed complex organic compounds in a laboratory.  Additionally, the laboratory environment successfully re-created outer space conditions.  Adding fascination to everything is the fact that, the formed complex organic compounds are found in, D.N.A. and R.N.A.  In order to form the complex organic compounds that contain D.N.A. and R.N.A., N.A.S.A. used starting chemicals.  One of these starting chemicals, which were used, was pyrimidine.  The latter, is found in meteorites.  In January of the year 2018, other researchers reported that, they had found liquid water and prebiotic complex organic substances.  This discovery was made after studying, 4.5 billion year old meteorites.  These meteorites were found on the Planet Earth.  Recently, N.A.S.A. announced that, one of its international research teams conducts studies on primitive asteroids.  Specifically, the aforementioned organization revealed that, it has found sugars in meteorites.  Additionally, these sugars are essential to life.  Furthermore, this new discovery adds to other discoveries of biologically important compounds that, have been found in meteorites. 
            Biologically important compounds that are found in meteorites, help support a hypothesis that claims that, chemical reactions in asteroids can make some of life’s ingredients.  Fascinatingly, if this hypothesis is ever proven correct, a meteorite bombardment of Ancient Earth is the origin of life.  The latter is due to the fact that, the meteorite bombardment supplied the Planet Earth, with life’s building blocks.  However and returning to, meteorites, a meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object.  Examples of the object are a comet, an asteroid or a meteoroid.  All of the previously mentioned examples, originate in outer space.  Additionally and somehow, a meteorite survives a journey through the atmosphere.  The journey through the Earth’s atmosphere, for example; involves an interaction with atmospheric gases that are then combined with friction, pressure and other types of chemical interactions.  The end result is that, a meteorite becomes a meteor, and, it takes on the appearance of a fireball.  A fireball, is also, referred to as a shooting star or falling star.  A meteorite that falls to the Planet Earth, is also called, a meteorite fall.  Meanwhile, a meteorite that is found in space is called a, meteorite find.
            Returning to, the discovery of sugars in meteorites, the importance of the aforementioned begins with an enigma.  The enigma is, how did biology start from non-biological chemical processes?  For example, D.N.A. is the template for life.  However, R.N.A. also carries with it information.  Fascinatingly, there are some researchers who believe that R.N.A. evolved first.  Then, R.N.A. was replaced by D.N.A.  The argument is that, R.N.A. molecules have capabilities that, D.N.A. doesn’t have.  Additionally, R.N.A. can make copies of itself, and, it has the ability to speed up chemical reactions.  Therefore, R.N.A. is also a catalyst.  As a result, these researchers believe that R.N.A. coordinated the machinery of life, before D.N.A. came into existence. 
            Continuing with, the discovery of sugars in meteorites, the aforementioned is from a study of two meteorites.  The two meteorites are; NWA 801 (Type CR2), and, Murchison (Type CM2).  Additionally, these two meteorites are considered to be, rich in carbon.  Specifically, what was found are ribose, arabinose and xylose.  The aforementioned, are considered to be bio-essential sugars.  The importance of ribose, is as follows.  Ribose is an essential component of R.N.A. (ribonucleic acid).  Additionally, R.N.A. functions as a messenger molecule.  For this role, it copies genetic instructions that, are found in D.N.A. molecules (deoxyribonucleic acid).  The instructions are delivered to ribosomes, which are inside of a cell.  The cell reads the R.N.A., and then, it builds specific proteins that are needed to carry out life’s processes. 
            To end:  this N.A.S.A. international research team was or is funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Kakenhi; the National Institutes of Natural Sciences Astrobiology Center, Japan; the Institute of Low Temperature Science; Hokkaido University; the Simons Foundation and the N.A.S.A. Astrobiology Institute, Goddard Center for Astrobiology.  N.A.S.A. did release press statements.  Yoshihiro Furukawa is from the Tohoku University in Japan.  Additionally, he is the lead author of the published study.  The latter, has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.  Through a press statement, Mr. Furukawa said the following.  “Other important building blocks of life have been found in meteorites previously, including amino acids (components of proteins) and nucleobases (components of DNA and RNA), but sugars have been a missing piece among the major building blocks of life.  The research provides the first direct evidence of ribose in space and the delivery of the sugar to Earth.  The extraterrestrial sugar might have contributed to the formation of RNA on the prebiotic Earth which possibly led to the origin of life.”  Jason Dworkin and Danny Glavin are members of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology Team.  Additionally, they are co-authors of the published study.  Through a press statement, Mr. Dworkin said the following.  “It is remarkable that a molecule as fragile as ribose could be detected in such ancient material.  These results will help guide our analyses of pristine samples from primitive asteroids Ryugu and Bennu, to be returned by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa 2 and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.”  Through a press statement, Mr. Glavin said the following.  “The sugar in DNA (2-deoxyribose) was not detected in any of the meteorites analyzed in this study.  This is important since there could have been a delivery bias of extraterrestrial ribose to the early Earth which is consistent with the hypothesis that RNA evolved first.”  As previously stated, N.A.S.A. recently announced that, one of its international research teams conducts studies on primitive asteroids.  Specifically, the aforementioned organization revealed that, it has found sugars in meteorites.  Additionally, these sugars are essential to life.  Lastly and furthermore, this new discovery adds to other discoveries of biologically important compounds that, have been found in meteorites. 

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Written from Press Release
Registered Writer with
PR Newswire Association, LLC
R-Berumen28
11/22/2019

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