Astrobiology is the study of life outside the earth. Paradoxically, it is advanced by understanding how life started here on earth. More about Astrobiology in the UK at the Astrobiology Society’s website.
In the famous Miller Urey experiment to discover the origin of life, the experiment did not result in primitive life but succeeded in creating organic molecules from inorganic constituents. The starting point of the Miller and Urey experiments was the chemical composition of the early Earth’s atmosphere. Could meteorites also have given life a helping hand?
In today’s episode, Dr Terry Kee from the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds talks about the key processes involving Phosphorus that may have been critical in kick-starting life on earth. The type of Phosphorus required for these processes is not found on the surface of the Earth today but is found in Iron meteorites. In a new collaborative project funded by £500,000 grant University of Leeds will investigate the beginning of life on Earth 3.8 billion years ago.
Sorry about the quality of the audio – the recording was made in Dr Kee’s office which apparently was much noisier than I remember:(