Well, maybe not the universe, but at least our Solar System. In case you missed it, the December 1 issue of Science has a material analysis of a meteorite that struck Tagish Lake in northern British Columbia in January 2000. What’s cool is that the meteor detonated in the atmosphere over Canada and the fragments hit the lake and immediately froze, keeping them pretty near pristine. When scientists started analyzing them, they found carbonaceous chondrite, or carbon-bearing compounds for us laymen. When the Johnson Space Center installed new electron microscopes in 2005, they found something even cooler—sub-micron bubbles less than 1/10,000th of an inch across. But wait. According to the report, the organic globules in the Tagish Lake meteorites were found to have very unusual hydrogen and nitrogen isotopic compositions. In laymen language again, it proves that the globules did not come from Earth.
“The isotopic ratios in these globules show that they formed at temperatures of about -260° C, near absolute zero,” said Scott Messenger, NASA space scientist and co-author of the paper. “The organic globules most likely originated in the cold molecular cloud that gave birth to our Solar System, or at the outermost reaches of the early Solar System.”
Am I the only one freaking about this? Organic. material. older. than. the. sun. Seeds, essentially, that have been moving through space since before our Sun flared into life. Since before an Earth. The building blocks of life. From somewhere other than Earth. You heard it here first, folks.
[Ed’s Note: Here’s a link about the Tagish Lake meteorite at Astrobiology Magazine.com.]