A scientist says that asteroids may act as time capsules that could represent the next frontier in uncovering our universe's secrets.
We may think of asteroids as frightening objects hurtling through space, threatening to wipe out humanity should we be unfortunate enough to have one take a collision course toward Earth. But asteroids may have a tremendous use for us as we try to understnad out universe.
As we seek to probe deeper into space and uncover the secrets of the universe, asteroids may hold the key to future breakthroughs. Nicholas Hud, a scientist from the Georgia Institute of Technology, says that asteroids can act as “time capsules” that can help us understand the chemistry of the universe and what molecules were around at the very start of the solar system, which could help us figure out how life started on Earth.
If we can establish what the initial conditions were at around the time when life formed, we can determined the formation of amino acids and other compounds that resulted in the formation of peptides, which are molecules similar to proteins that many experts believe resulted in the creation of life.
“We can look to the asteroids to help us understand what chemistry is possible in the universe,” said Hud in a statement. “It’s important for us to study materials from asteroids and meteorites, the smaller versions of asteroids that fall to Earth, to test the validity of our models for how molecules in them could have helped give rise to life. We also need to catalog the molecules from asteroids and meteorites because there might be compounds there that we had not even considered important for starting life.”