The ancient meteorite provides clues that could help reveal the origins of life on Earth

A space rock that was created 4,500 million years ago during the birth of the Solar System could help us understand the origins of life. One of the meteorites created during this ardent and ancient period of time landed on Earth and has now been analyzed by scientists who saw that the elemental building blocks for life were present in the soccer-sized rock (pictured)

A space rock formed 4,500 million years ago during the birth of the Solar System could help us understand the origins of life on Earth.

The tumultuous period during the birth of the Solar System saw space rocks swarming around the sun's growing gravitational field and colliding at an accelerated rate to form the planets, moons and meteors we see today.

Scientists have analyzed one of the meteorites that formed during this period before crashing on Earth 4.5 billion years later.

The analysis of the space rock the size of an ancient grapefruit, known as Orgueil, revealed the elementary building blocks for life.

A chemical "fingerprint" of oxygen, carbon and nitrogen hidden within the meteorite was discovered, opening the door for future research on how life on Earth and potentially other planets flourished both within and outside our solar system.

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A space rock that was created 4,500 million years ago during the birth of the Solar System could help us understand the origins of life. One of the meteorites created during this ardent and ancient period of time landed on Earth and has now been analyzed by scientists who saw that the elemental building blocks for life were present in the soccer-sized rock (pictured)

A space rock that was created 4,500 million years ago during the birth of the Solar System could help us understand the origins of life. One of the meteorites created during this ardent and ancient period of time landed on Earth and has now been analyzed by scientists who saw that the elemental building blocks for life were present in the soccer-sized rock (pictured)

The rock is made of the first solid materials, such as rocks, organic matter, water ice and fine-grained dust that formed in our Solar System.

When these first rocks are discovered on Earth, they act as time capsules to help scientists understand how planets formed and evolved over billions of years.

The isotope analysis of the 4.5 billion-year-old Orgueil meteorite revealed traces of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur, all of which are fundamental to early life.

Isotopes are different versions of the same element, with a different amount of protons but the same number of neutrons in the nucleus.

The research, published in PNAS, confirms that these organic materials were probably formed through basic chemical reactions during the childhood of the solar system.

The scientists, led by researchers at the University of Manchester, believe that if organic materials can be formed through relatively simple processes, they may also have become widespread elsewhere.

In addition to helping us to understand more about our own planetary system, it could also help us learn about the habitability of other solar systems.

The asteroid, taken from the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, is an extremely rare rock known as carbonaceous chondrite and weighed about 30 pounds (14 kg) when it landed. It was first discovered in 1894 in southwestern France.

Only a small percentage of all meteorites are chondrites, rocks that have not been modified due to fusion during their journey through space, which makes it difficult to find them, and even more difficult to study.

The research team spent two years measuring and interpreting the oxygen isotope composition of organic compounds in some of these early-formed meteorites.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPACE ROCKS?

A asteroid It is a large piece of rock that remains from the collisions or the primitive solar system. Most are between Mars and Jupiter in the main belt.

A Kite It is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much farther from the solar system.

A meteorite it is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns.

This garbage itself is known as meteoroid. Most are so small that they vaporize in the atmosphere.

If something of this meteoroid reaches Earth, it's called meteorite.

Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites usually originate from asteroids and comets.

For example, if the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the remains burn in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.

The solar system begins with a primordial molecular cloud (1) that then collapses (2) into a protoplanetary disk filled with gas where the planetary precursors begin to form (3), potentially through accretion of chondrules (4), eventually adding themselves in compositional and radial form different objects (5)

The solar system begins with a primordial molecular cloud (1) that then collapses (2) into a protoplanetary disk filled with gas where the planetary precursors begin to form (3), potentially through accretion of chondrules (4), eventually adding themselves in compositional and radial form different objects (5)

The solar system begins with a primordial molecular cloud (1) that then collapses (2) into a protoplanetary disk filled with gas where the planetary precursors begin to form (3), potentially through accretion of chondrules (4), eventually adding themselves in compositional and radial form different objects (5)

"The chondrites are a snapshot of the primitive solar system, which provides key information about how protoplanets and planets were formed and processed," says Dr. Romain Tartèse, study author and researcher at the University of Manchester.

Organic carbonaceous chondrites are particularly rare, and comprise only a small percentage of all known meteorites.

"The Earth is a dynamic planet: processes such as plate tectonics and erosion have erased most of the earliest records on Earth," says Dr. Tartèse.

Previous studies focused mainly on two other fundamental components of life, abundant in organic compounds: hydrogen and nitrogen, but oxygen offers more information than its peers.

Oxygen is abundant in the sample, makes up about 10 to 20 percent of the organic mass, and also has three stable isotopes, as opposed to just two.

Dr. Tartèse added: "The oxygen isotope pattern was similar to the relationship that binds the composition of the Sun, the asteroids and the terrestrial planets.

"Therefore, this probably implies that the carbonaceous chondrite compounds were formed through chemical reactions in the early Solar System, rather than having been inherited from the interstellar medium."

Organic carbonaceous chondrites are particularly rare, and comprise only a small percentage of all known meteorites. This is a superimposed map of elemental X rays of magnesium (red), calcium (green) and aluminum (blue) in a common chondrite chondrite.

Organic carbonaceous chondrites are particularly rare, and comprise only a small percentage of all known meteorites. This is a superimposed map of elemental X rays of magnesium (red), calcium (green) and aluminum (blue) in a common chondrite chondrite.

Organic carbonaceous chondrites are particularly rare, and comprise only a small percentage of all known meteorites. This is a superimposed map of elemental X rays of magnesium (red), calcium (green) and aluminum (blue) in a common chondrite chondrite.

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