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Proceedings Paper

Amino acids as probes for ancient life in the solar system
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Paper Abstract

Surface and atmospheric conditions make it unlikely that life as we know it presently exists elsewhere in our solar system. However, this does not preclude the possibility of ancient, extraterrestrial life, which could have originated from Earth or have been introduced to Earth. Since the oldest known sediments on Earth contain evidence for life, it is not possible to determine what the Earth's chemical composition was like prior to life's origin. This evidence can only be sought from meteorites and planetary materials that were formed during the early stages of solar system formation approximately 4.5 to 4.0 GΑa. Criteria are presented that can be used to determine if amino acids in these ancient materials are evidence of ancient life or if they were formed by non-biological processes.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 September 2006
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 6309, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology IX, 630907 (14 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.678793
Show Author Affiliations
Michael H. Engel, Univ. of Oklahoma (United States)
Randall S. Perry, Imperial College (United Kingdom)
The Planetary Science Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6309:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology IX
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Y. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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