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Scientists have found a new probable source of life on Earth: people see it every day

Dmytro IvancheskulLife
Powerful solar flares could lead to the main blocks of life on Earth

The foundations for life on Earth, the so-called building blocks, could probably have been formed by solar flares attacking the planet's atmosphere. As a result, amino acids and carboxylic acids were formed.

A series of experiments conducted by NASA astrophysicist Vladimir Airapetyan and Japanese scientists testify to this. According to Phys, the results of their work published in the journal Life.

Support for such a theory came from a series of chemical experiments that showed that solar particles colliding with gases in Earth's early atmosphere could form amino acids and carboxylic acids, the basic building blocks of proteins and organic life.

In the late 1800s, life on Earth was thought to have originated in what is known as a soup, a warm pond of chemicals that, as a result of lightning strikes or other energy sources, began to mix to form organic molecules.

In the 1950s, a successful experiment was conducted with a chamber filled with methane, ammonia, water and molecular hydrogen. It was these gases that were thought to dominate the atmosphere of the early Earth.

But scientists later learned that ammonia and methane were much less common; instead, Earth's air was filled with carbon dioxide and molecular nitrogen, which require more energy to break down. Although these gases can also produce amino acids, they do so in much smaller quantities.

Subsequently, the theory emerged that the bases for living organisms came to the planet as a result of a meteorite fall.

Now, Hayrapetyan and his Japanese colleagues used data from the Kepler mission, suggesting that life on Earth could have originated thanks to energetic particles from our Sun.

In 2016, he published a study suggesting that during the first 100 million years of Earth's existence, the Sun was about 30 percent duller but more violent than it is now. The astrophysicist speculated that superbursts, which led to powerful eruptions on the Sun, then occurred every 3 to 10 days, whereas now they occur only once every 100 years.

These superbursts launched energetic particles traveling at near the speed of light that collided with the planet's atmosphere, triggering chemical reactions.

"As soon as I published the paper, I was contacted by a team from the National University of Yokohama in Japan," said the astrophysicist.

Hayrapetyan and scientists from Japan created a mixture of gases that matched the atmosphere of the early Earth by combining carbon dioxide, molecular nitrogen, water and a variable amount of methane. They then bombarded this mixture with protons that mimicked solar particles or ignited them with spark discharges, simulating lightning.

The experiments found that the protons were a more efficient source of energy than lightning. Against the possibility that life was "triggered" by lightning is the fact that lightning came from thunderclouds formed by rising warm air, which must have been extremely rare on a colder, earlier Earth.

"Lightning doesn't strike during cold weather, and the early Earth was under a fairly weak sun. That doesn't mean it couldn't have come from lightning, but lightning seems less likely now, and solar particles are more likely," he stressed.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL also reported that researchers in the United States have created a chemical reaction using cyanide in the laboratory, which could have led to the formation of organic life on Earth 4 billion years ago.

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