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20 Nov, 2019 10:55

NASA discovers alien SUGAR on board two fallen meteorites indicating possible origin of LIFE on Earth

NASA discovers alien SUGAR on board two fallen meteorites indicating possible origin of LIFE on Earth

Scientists from NASA and three Japanese universities have found sugar molecules on two different fallen meteorites, greatly complicating our understanding of the possible origins of life on Earth.

Meteorites may have made these initial sugar deliveries to Earth, which include the RNA component ribose and other bio-essential sugars like arabinose and xylose, which are all fundamental and critical biological building blocks. 


It’s the first time direct evidence of sugar being delivered to Earth from space has been discovered. “The extraterrestrial sugar might have contributed to the formation of RNA on the prebiotic Earth which possibly led to the origin of life,” lead researcher Yoshihiro Furukawa of Tohoku University said.

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The carbon atoms found in the sugar were different from those typically found on Earth. However, despite being extremely careful to avoid contaminating the initial samples, the team is going to double check their findings by searching for additional ribose in future space rock samples, including those taken from the asteroid Ryugu that are currently en route back to Earth. 

The teams did not discover sugars for DNA, just key components of RNA, which serves as a messenger molecule, copying genetic guidelines from DNA and delivering them throughout the cell to trigger the construction of specific proteins.

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Many researchers believe RNA evolved first and was later replaced by DNA, as RNA boasts capabilities that DNA doesn’t have, such as independent self-replication as well as the ability to initiate or speed up chemical reactions. 

“If correct, meteorite bombardment on ancient Earth may have assisted the origin of life with a supply of life’s building blocks,” NASA explained.


The latest discovery could help unravel the ongoing mystery of how biology could have arisen from non-biological chemical processes here on Earth. The research was published Monday in the journal PNAS.

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