How, exactly, living things emerged on Earth remains a mystery. Now a new experiment has revealed that blasts of solar particles could have kickstarted the process by creating some of the basic components of life.
Time in the sun
Before so much as the first microbe existed, there had to be amino acids thought to have formed in one of the primordial oozes of early Earth. It was previously thought that lightning might have supercharged the formation of amino acids. However, Kensei Kobayashi of Yokohama National University in Japan, along with astrophysicist Vladimir Airapetian of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and a team of researchers from both institutions, have found another possibility: The young Sun’s superflares probably helped give rise to the stuff of life.
“[Galactic cosmic rays] and [solar energetic particle] events from the young Sun represent the most effective energy sources for the prebiotic formation of biologically important organic compounds,” the researchers said in a study recently published in Life.