Life’s First Spark Re-Created

A recently conducted experiment may give us a better understanding of how the Earth possibly began.

Scientists took to the lab with a powerful 500-foot laser to re-create what might have been the original spark of life on Earth.

This from Associated Press:

The researchers zapped clay and a chemical soup with the laser to simulate the energy of a speeding asteroid smashing into the planet. They ended up creating what can be considered crucial pieces of the building blocks of life.

Read the full article here.

For less than a billionth of a second, the laser produced an amount of energy equivalent to that of a couple of nuclear power plants, or around a billion kilowatts.

The experiment itself produced all four chemical bases need to make RNA, which acts as the blueprint of life.

Although scientists have been able to produce RNA through chemical mixes and pressure prior to this experiment, this is the first time that energy from a space crash has been proven to cause the same chemical reaction.

“These findings suggest that the emergence of terrestrial life is not the result of an accident but a direct consequence of the conditions on the primordial Earth and its surroundings,” the researchers concluded in the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While the findings do not prove how Earth came into being, it does bolster a long-held theory. As for the experts, opinions on the results of the experiment are mixed.

While laser technology produced some pretty amazing results in this experiment, they are useful for more things that producing high levels of energy. To see how other scientist are using lasers in their research, check out the recent publications in our Digital Library.


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