The new molecules included ethanol, acetic acid, acetylene, formaldehyde and ethane, some of which are key molecules or building blocks needed for early organisms.
The research opens the possibility that our origins are extraterrestrial.
The first life on Earth began around 4 billion years ago, but this finding suggests the building blocks needed for this to happen may have come from space, strengthening the theory that life may have begun outside our planet.
The study was carried out under vacuum conditions, which mimics outer space conditions, according to the journal Astrobiology. The ice films were used as various types of ice form around dust grains in molecular clouds in space, and similar icy environments exist on asteroids, comets and moons.
DNA possesses a out-of-this-world quality
A tiny ‘plasmid’, a circular strand of DNA used in genetic engineering, was sent into space from Sweden in 2011 on the exterior of a TEXUS-49 rocket. After enduring 1,000C heat it was found to still be intact and with its biological properties when it returned to Earth.
If DNA can remain ‘alive’ in space and back to the Earth, it means that it is a pretty solid material, able to resist a cocktail of extreme conditions. As a matter of fact, scientists have, in the past, proposed that DNA from outer space might have reached us while we remain oblivious of it. DNA materials might be preserved in dust and meteorites that hit our planet’s surface.
Life on Earth has its origins in the cosmos
Mainstream science and institutions have fought against theories which expound these beliefs but now evidence from meteorites, from samples of bacteria from space and from space observation is making resistance more difficult. Research into this area is not being adequately funded by governments or institutions. Proving that the Earth is in a constant exchange of matter with the larger cosmos would have implications not only in terms of our identity, but could also give us insight into alien viruses which may be important for our group identity, evolution and survival itself.