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Life in space may not need a planet

Posted on:  | 26 Apr 2016

It’s long been known that the building blocks of life came to Earth and other planets from space, but researchers think that life could arise from those ingredients in space itself, BBC reports. Although the exact processes of how life formed on Earth are still not clear, scientists have shown that the basic molecules that make up carbon-based life can be formed from frozen water, methanol, and ammonia, substances commonly found in space nebulae. Whereas normally the heat of a planet or star would be needed to help these substances combine to form sugars, ultraviolet radiation passing through space can do the job, according to a recent study in Science. Amino acids are also present in space, and scientists believe that RNA and DNA chains could begin to form there. But the same radiation that could cause life in outer space would also be its greatest enemy, as its rays would likely damage the growing molecular chains and keep life from becoming complex.
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