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Scientists Find Protein with Oxygen, Lithium, and Iron at The Ends in Meteorite

Posted by: Chris Na 2021-11-14 Comments Off on Scientists Find Protein with Oxygen, Lithium, and Iron at The Ends in Meteorite

Scientists Find Protein with Oxygen, Lithium, and Iron at The Ends in Meteorite

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Category: tungsten’s News
Published on Wednesday, 04 March 2020 19:09

A team of researchers from Plex Corporation, Bruker Scientific LLC, and Harvard University found evidence of extraterrestrial protein inside a meteorite that contains oxygen, lithium, and iron atoms at its ends. They have written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

In previous research, scientists have discovered organic materials, sugars, and some other molecules that are considered to be precursors of amino acids in meteorites and comets, and fully formed amino acids have also been found in comets and meteorites. But until now, no proteins have been found inside of an extraterrestrial object. In this new attempt, researchers found a protein called hemolithin inside a meteorite discovered in Algeria back in 1990.

A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid, that originated in outer space and survived its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet or moon. When the original object enters the atmosphere, various factors such as friction, pressure, and chemical interactions with the atmospheric gases cause it to heat up and radiate energy. It then becomes a meteor and forms a fireball, also known as a shooting star or falling star, astronomers call the brightest examples "bolides".

The hemolithin protein found by the researchers is small and is mainly made up of glycine and amino acids. It also had oxygen, lithium and iron atoms at its ends – an arrangement never is seen before. The team's paper has not been peer-reviewed, but once their findings are confirmed, their findings will add another article to the puzzle surrounding life on Earth. It is considered an essential part of biological development. The finding can support some theories that show that life or something very close to life came to Earth from elsewhere in space.

Chemists consider that proteins are very complex, which means that a lot of things must happen by chance for protein formation. The protein in the meteorite is very special, aside from glycine and amino acids, it has an oxygen, lithium, and iron atom arrangement that has never appeared at the end before. To form naturally, glycine must first be formed on the surface of the space dust particles. Thereafter, heat by way of molecular clouds might have induced units of glycine to begin linking into polymer chains, which at some point, could evolve into fully formed proteins.

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