NASA scientists ‘discovers’ origin of life on Earth

May 23, 2016

In a report published by NASA scientists in the journal Nature Geoscience indicate that material from ferocious, fire-spitting storms on the embryonic sun provided the spark of life that created the essential ingredients and climate needed for Earth’s primitive life to get a toehold. A study of a stormy adolescent sun has provided insight into the combination of factors which helped create the right conditions for life to develop on Earth.The sun’s surface was unpredictable and giant eruptions called “superflares” were a daily occurrence, spewing solar materials and radiation into space. Those particles collided with Earth’s magnetic field creating the right conditions to warm Earth and foster life.NASA’s paper explored why the Earth’s climate was warm enough for liquid water to be present to encourage simple molecules and allow the planet to brew and incubate life.The NASA research explored how the exploding particles from the sun seeped into Earth’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere and split relatively un-reactive nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere into two highly reactive nitrogen atoms.Those could go on to react with any molecule in the early atmosphere, producing hydrogen cyanide and nitrous oxide.”The latter, also known as laughing gas, is a powerful greenhouse gas important for allowing liquid water to exist,” the NASA team said in a statement

The research said some 4 billion years ago the sun shone with only about three-quarters of the brightness of today and was not powerful enough to warm the Earth.”Back then, Earth received only about 70 per cent of the energy from the sun than it does today,” lead author Vladimir Airapetian from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre said.”That means Earth should have been an icy ball. Instead, geological evidence says it was a warm globe with liquid water. We call this the Faint Young Sun Paradox.”Our new research shows that solar storms could have been central to warming Earth.”Using data from the exoplanet-hunting mission Kepler, which has also been recording the activity of different types of stars, NASA created a timeline of how the sun evolved and how it could affect a young Earth.While solar storms were not a new concept, the new NASA research showed how the powerful solar explosions may have provided the crucial energy needed to warm Earth, despite the sun’s faintness.”This newly discovered constant influx of solar particles to early Earth may have done more than just warm the atmosphere, it may also have provided the energy needed to make complex chemicals,” NASA’s Kepler mission said in a statement.”In a planet scattered evenly with simple molecules, it takes a huge amount of incoming energy to create the complex molecules that eventually seeded life.”

Contador Harrison