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What if life was born in space thanks to quantum tunneling?

What if life was born in space thanks to quantum tunneling?

This is what this new research published in . supports natural astronomy By a team of researchers from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and the Max Planck Institute, after the discovery A new guide to the formation of peptidesmeaning the chains of amino acids that we know are the essential components of life.

We know that the Earth at first was an inhospitable place and if we have to go back to the more favorable stage Formation of the first single-celled organismswe must reach the time of the primordial soup, that is, that heritable and not better defined period during which a series of chemical reactions would have taken place in the aquatic environment, such as to give rise to the first microorganisms.

On the one hand, if the escape from the passage that led to the first living organisms continues from the first inanimate chemical compounds, on the other hand, many theories begin from the assumption that all the constituent elements must already be present on our planet. So the next question might spontaneously arise: How on Earth did they get there?

The claim is pretentious but it arises from the findings compiled by the team of researchers which apparently Enables to trigger a basic reaction in a simulated space. The success of the experiment has enormous implications if we believe that until now the presence of a star (such as our Sun) was considered to be a major contributing factor to the activation of certain chemical processes.

By simulating the low-energy and low-temperature conditions typical of space, the researchers were able to condense carbon atoms on the surface of cold solid particles (similar to cosmic dust), resulting in the formation of some simultaneous monomers of polyglycine (aminoketin molecules). ). Of course, the research does not mean that life arose in space, because without a star and the right conditions this would be impossible, but the building blocks for it can have arisen even in conditions that are certainly considered hostile.

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But if the building blocks of life, the amino acids, could form complex chains in the vacuum of space, the foundations of life could have formed virtually anywhere in the universe. There is only to consider its rarity, very high if we think that everything must be balanced so that some simple carbon atoms join in conditions of absence of water and energy. We know that neregia is indispensable for doing something and on Earth we experience it every day, so what could be causing these basic interactions in space? Once again quantum physics comes to our aid.

The test was conducted in an airtight room at about a quarter of a million of normal air pressure and minus 263 degrees Celsius. to me Inside there were substrates with dust particles with carbon atoms, ammonia and carbon monoxide

“The investigations showed that under these conditions polyglycine formed a peptide from simple chemicals. So these are very simple glycine amino acid chains and we observed different lengths. The longer samples consisted of eleven amino acid units.”

It takes energy to trigger some interactions and the space is dark and cold, so how can that be resolved? The researchers relied on a quantum process called “Drilling tunnels”, according to which a particle can be described as an oscillating wave, the amplitude of which represents the probability of finding it in a particular place. When you encounter an obstacle, this wave does not end abruptly. Instead, it continues within and on the other side of the barrier, albeit to a lesser degree.

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According to the researchers, something similar may have happened, as they explain in detail within the research.

“This is because the energy barrier has to physically be overcome for this to happen. However, it is possible that we are helped by a special effect of quantum mechanics. In this particular phase of the reaction, a corn Hydrogen change places. However, it is so small that, as a quantum particle, it could not cross the barrier but was simply able to pass through it, as it were, through the tunnel effect.”

Hence the conclusion that the amino acids that we are made of were probably also formed in space under conditions that were not at all favorable and almost random, and then later cosmic dust could have joined with other elements to become the basis of comets and meteorites, which at times You may have arrived far on Earth or even on other planets under ideal conditions.

So the research delves into theories that argue that life did not originate on Earth, or at least that its essential elements come from space. Of course it is one of many theories, only in this case there is very specific scientific evidence. For more details and insights, search SOURCE for the official publication in Nature Astronomy.