Tag Archives | Meteors

Essential Vitamin B3 May Have Arrived From Space On Meteorites

meteorDid life spring from space residue? Via ScienceDaily:

Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

This is not the first time vitamin B3 has been found in meteorites. In 2001 a team led by Sandra Pizzarello of Arizona State University, in Tempe discovered it along with related molecules called pyridine carboxylic acids in the Tagish Lake meteorite.

The team plans to conduct additional interstellar chemistry experiments under more realistic conditions to better understand how vitamin B3 can form on ice grains in space.

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Skydiver Says He Was Almost Struck By Meteor During Jump

Usually you only have to worry about colliding with a “rock” if your parachute doesn’t open…

Via Huffington Post:

The diver, Anders Helstrup, told Norway’s state TV channel, NRK, he caught the incident on camera during a skydive in 2012. He has only recently come around to the idea that the mysterious, falling object could have been a meteor, and not something else, like a rock falling from his skydiving partners, their plane or even from his own parachute.

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Meteor impact trapped ancient swamp plants in glass

themoment

The Moment (Panspermia) by Ryan Rosenberg

Kieren Torres Howard of the Meteorite Working Group, and colleagues have discovered organic material in glass created from a meteor impact.

via New Scientist

Remnants of an ancient swamp have been found preserved inside glass created during a meteorite strike. The discovery marks the first time that traces of life have been found to survive the heat and pressure of an impact, adding weight to arguments that microbes travelling on space rocks could have seeded the solar system.

Astrobiologists have long suggested that simple life forms could have hitched a ride to Earth inside meteors, or that impacts on early Earth could have sent terrestrial microbes to other worlds on ejected pieces of our planet. We know that rocks kicked up by impacts can travel vast distances. Martian meteorites with soil trapped inside have landed on Earth, and theoretical calculations suggest that meteor strikes on Earth could have had enough energy to send rocks as far away as the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

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“Alien Algae” Found On Upper Stratosphere Research Balloon

alien algae

Evidence that Earth was “seeded” by life from above? Medical Daily reports:

Did a British research balloon pick up extraterrestrial life as it skimmed the stratosphere during the annual Perseid meteor shower?

Yes, [says] astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe and his fellow scientists, who claim that the microscopic algae detected on the balloon’s sterile slides “can only have come from space.” In a study presented at the Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology conference in San Diego, Calif. last month, the team theorized that the seeds are constantly transported between planets by asteroids, comets, and other cosmic wanderers.

“The entities varied from a presumptive colony of ultra-small bacteria to two unusual individual organisms – part of a diatom frustule and a 200 micron-sized particle mass interlaced with biofilm and biological filaments.”

The presence of stratospheric life would back the panspermia hypothesis – the popular astrobiological view that life is promulgated by itinerant repositories of microorganisms that “impregnate” planets.

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Can We Stop The Next Meteor Strike?

Given the history of planetary destruction from meteor strikes in the past, trying to stop them from impacting our now vastly more populated planet seems like a good idea, but one wonders if it’s realistic. NASA is working on it, regardless, reports The Christian Science Monitor:

This month’s meteor detonation above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and Earth’s close shave with asteroid 2012 DA14 have kick-started conversations on lessons learned and what steps can be taken to prevent space rock impacts in the future.

One positive action item was actually in place prior to the dual asteroid events of Feb. 15: a new Memorandum of Agreement between the Air, Space, and Cyberspace Operations Directorate of the Air Force Space Command and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

That document, which was signed on Jan. 18 of this year, spells out specifics for the public release of meteor data from sources such as high-flying, hush-hush U.S.

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Ultra-Rare Quasicrystals Came To Earth From Space

A strange crystal with a molecular structure that should be impossible can be found only on a remote Russian mountain where a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite housing it fell to Earth. In short, if you are a rich eccentric looking for a rare substance to hoard, this is it. Via New Scientist:

Evidence is mounting that the only known natural form of a bizarre type of crystal known as a quasicrystal originated in space.

Like standard crystals, the atoms of a quasicrystal are ordered, but their arrangement lacks translational symmetry: a shifted copy won’t ever quite match its original. Such a pattern on the atomic scale was long thought impossible, until the Nobel-prizewinning work of Daniel Shechtman of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, who was the first to spot an example in an alloy.

Since then, the strange arrangement has also been discovered in a rock dug up in the Koryak mountains in eastern Russia in 1979, which is now part of the collection of the Museum of Natural History in Florence, Italy.

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California Meteor Found Packed With Alien Organics

Murchison MeteoriteVia the Daily Galaxy:

A sonic boom heard in California last week had an out-of-this world origin as ”a large meteoric event” according to NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. Scientists now estimate the blast measured in near 5 kilotons or roughly 1/3 the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II. Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, estimates the object was about the size of a minivan, weighed in at around 154,300 pounds.

“Most meteors you see in the night’s sky are the size of tiny stones or even grains of sand and their trail lasts all of a second or two,” said Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Fireballs you can see relatively easily in the daytime and are many times that size — anywhere from a baseball-sized object to something as big as a minivan.”

The meteor appears to be much more valuable than scientists first thought.

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Mysterious Explosion and Daylight Fireball in Nevada, California Skies

Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison Dept. of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences

Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison Dept. of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences

The consensus is that it was a meteor crashing to earth. Martin Griffith reports for AP via Christian Science Monitor:

A loud explosion heard across much of Nevada and California on Sunday morning rattled homes and prompted a flood of calls to law enforcement agencies on both sides of the Sierra Nevada, some reporting fireball sightings.

The sound and the light show were likely caused by a meteor that entered Earth’s atmosphere, astronomers said…

Some people reported seeing a brilliant light streak across the sky at the same time. Sightings occurred over roughly a 600-mile line across the two states, including Reno, Elko and North Las Vegas in Nevada, and the San Francisco, Sacramento and Bakersfield areas in California.

Astronomers said they believe the mysterious light was a fireball, which is a very bright meteor. It will take time to determine the path of the fireball and where it broke up, they added…

[continues at AP via Christian Science Monitor]

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