1st extraterrestrial protein found, life ingredients are outside Earth

Scientists have found the first extraterrestrial protein inside a meteorite that landed on Earth thirty years ago.

| Mar 4, 2020 at 2:06 am CST

A meteorite that fell from space and landed on Earth has given scientists and researchers evidence to suggest that the building blocks of life are capable of being found outside of Earth.


The meteorite is called Acfer 086 and landed in Algeria around 30 years ago. Since then, scientists have performed studies on the meteorite and now have recently discovered some vital information. Researchers found the protein hemolithin inside the meteorite, and if you don't know what hemolithin is, its a small protein that's composed of the amino acid glycine, iron, lithium, and oxygen.

Scientists aren't surprised at finding these elements, but what they are surprised at is finding these elements in this specific configuration - marking the first time a configuration of this caliber has been found on Earth. While the composition of the molecule contains elements we are familiar with, the proteins ratio of hydrogen to isotope deuterium didn't match anything scientists have found on Earth.

Researchers have estimated that the hemolithin found in Acfer 086 could have formed in the proto-solar disk around 4.6 billion years ago.

Last updated: Jun 16, 2020 at 04:29 pm CDT

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