Monday, July 19, 2021

The energy of a trillion rays could be the key to the origin of life on Earth

3:37 PM | ,

According to new research, a trillion rays were the key that sparked the origin of life on the face of the Earth.

For centuries, humans have wondered what gave rise to life in the universe.  But it is until now that an investigation argues that lightning was perhaps the spark that gave rise to the origin of life on our planet.

  Life on Earth appeared billions of years ago, when primordial organisms appeared on the face of the planet.  It is known that the origin comes from a series of exact combinations that led to the beginning of life.  However, there are still loose ends in research that tries to explain how life emerged on the planet.

 A recent investigation confirms that the spark could have been produced by lightning.  Researchers at the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics at the University of Leeds, UK, believe they have found the key to the origin of life.  According to research published in Nature, the rays during the first billion years after the planet's formation may have released the phosphorus necessary for the formation of biomolecules essential for life.

 Phosphorus is an important part of the cocktail responsible for life, it forms the phosphate building block of DNA and RNA.  Furthermore, it represents an essential component of cell membranes.  On the early Earth, phosphorus was not bioavailable, that is, the element was locked up in insoluble minerals.  But at one point in geological history this changed and phosphorus became bioavailable to constitute living beings.

 Experts believe that meteorites that bombed the Earth at some point in history were responsible for this change.  Some meteorites contained a type of phosphorus called schreibersite, which is soluble in water, where life originated.  However, this theory is changing with new discoveries.

 A trillion lightnings and millions of flashes

  The researchers, through simulations and based on the atmospheric composition of the time, calculated the amount of rays produced between 3,500 and 4,500 million years ago.  The upper band was about a trillion rays, which caused the formation of more than a billion fulgurites per year.

  When the rays strike the sandy surface under specific conditions, sculptures called fulgurites are generated.  When falling, the beam reaches a depth of more than one meter and, added to its intense heat (up to 28,000 degrees Celsius) in contact with the sand, causes the silica grains to melt and give way to vitreous formations called fulgurites.

 Unlike meteorite impacts that decay exponentially with time, lightning can occur at a sustained rate throughout a planet's history.  This means that lightning can also be a very important mechanism for providing the phosphorus needed for the emergence of life in other Earth-like species,” explains research co-author Hess.

 Therefore, the findings suggest that meteorites did not provide the phosphorus needed to spawn life.  Instead, the rays represented the spark of life's origin, leaving behind millions of fulgurite formations that provided enough phosphorus for the first organisms on the face of the Earth.

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