Ingredients for life in a grain of salt from outer space


Meteorites that hit Earth in 1998 contained water and complex organic compounds.


A blue halite (salt-based) crystal from the Zag meteorite, which landed near Morocco in 1998. The crystal contains a range of organic molecules including hydrocarbons and amino acids.
A blue halite (salt-based) crystal from the Zag meteorite, which landed near Morocco in 1998. The crystal contains a range of organic molecules including hydrocarbons and amino acids.
Queenie Hoi Shan Chan

A study of crystals like the one shown above – a blue salt crystal, or halite, from the Zag meteorite that fell to Earth in 1998 – has discovered both water and an array of complex organic compounds including amino acids.

Using an X-ray microscope, researchers studied the molecular makeup of the crystals. They believe the meteorite may have originally been seeded by water or ice ejected by volcanic activity on the dwarf planet Ceres.

  1. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/1/eaao3521
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