April 30, 2009

Comets: Key ingredients for life on Earth

An Israeli scientist says comets might have provided the elements for the emergence of life on Earth.

Tel Aviv University Professor Akiva Bar-Nun said he discovered comets were the source of missing ingredients needed for life in Earth's ancient primordial soup.

When comets slammed into the Earth through the atmosphere about 4 billion years ago, they delivered a payload of organic materials to the young Earth, adding materials that combined with Earth's own large reservoir of organics and led to the emergence of life, said Bar-Nun. He said it was that chemical composition of comets that allowed them to kick-start life.

His theory appears in the journal Icarus.