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Building blocks for life may be able to form in radioactive meteorites

Amino acids have been found in meteorites, and now an experiment shows how they might have been created by chemical reactions in these space rocks

Chemistry 7 December 2022

The Murchison meteorite

The Murchison meteorite contains amino acids

SBS Eclectic Images/Alamy

Radioactive meteorites may have helped create the building blocks of life a few million years after the solar system was formed.

Amino acids are molecules that combine to form proteins, making them essential for life as we know it. They have been found on carbonaceous chondrites, a type of radioactive meteorite, leading some to postulate that the parent bodies that spawned these space rocks may have played a role in the origins of life.

“The amino acids produced in meteorite parent bodies would be …