Shed new light on how life began on Earth, scientists, including a researcher of Indian origin, have proposed a new set of cosmic chemical reactions that could have contributed to the formation of life on our planet.
The researchers found that the methanol, a derivative of methane and abundant better known on Earth as “wood alcohol,” is more reactive than methane itself.
Through experiments and calculations showed that methanol can lead to various hydrocarbon products and their derivatives, including their ions (carbocations and carbanions), which have been observed in outer space.
Principal Investigators George Olah and GK Surya Prakash from the department of chemistry at the University of South Carolina (USC) believe that when these hydrocarbons and other products were transported to Earth by asteroids or comets, continued to evolve on the planet the only
“Goldilocks” conditions – liquid water, a breathable atmosphere and moderate temperatures – ultimately leading to life as we know it.
In the first minutes of the formation of the universe, hydrogen and helium are formed from the energy of the big bang.
All other elements developed later in the hot interior of new stars by transforming hydrogen in carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and others.
after a few million years , supernova explosions in these stars threw down elements in the surrounding space, forming water and hydrocarbons – compounds containing carbon and hydrogen such as methane and methanol.
“How evolved more complex hydrocarbons, including those that eventually lead to life on Earth, remains an open question,” the researchers said in an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society article.