Posted: Mar 12, 2010 11:59 pm
by Sityl
I just have to say that the abstract of the first link is very exciting! wrote:
We have investigated the synthesis of the simplest amino acid, glycine, by Galactic cosmic-ray particles in extraterrestrial ices. Laboratory experiments combined with electronic structure calculations showed that amethylamine molecule [CH3NH2(X 1A0 )] can be dissociated through interaction with energetic electrons in the track of a cosmicray particle to form atomic hydrogen and the radicals CH2NH2(X 2A0) and CH3NH(X 2A0 ). Hydrogen atoms with sufficient kinetic energy could overcome the entrance barrier to add to a carbon dioxide molecule [CO2(X 1þg)], yielding a trans-hydroxycarbonyl radical, HOCO(X 2A0 ). Neighboring radicals with the correct geometric orientation then recombine to form glycine, NH2CH2COOH(X 1A), and also its isomer, CH3NHCOOH(X 1A). These findings expose for the first time detailed reaction mechanisms of how the simplest amino acid glycine and its isomer can be synthesized via nonequilibrium chemistry in interstellar and cometary ices. Our results offer an important alternative to aqueous and photon-induced formation of amino acids in comets and in molecular clouds. These results also predict the existence of a hitherto undetected isomer of glycine in the interstellar medium, suggest that glycine should be observable on Saturn’s moon Titan, and help to account for the synthesis of more complex amino acids in the Murchison and Orgueil meteorites.

So you start out with CH3NH2 and CO2 in a chunk of ice in space. A cosmic ray hits the CH3NH2, the electrons in the cosmicray particle hit the CH3NH2, and break it up into an atomic hydrogen (H1), and either CH2NH2 or CH3NH. Then, the free atmoic hydrogen, if it has enough kenetic energy, can group with CO2, turning into HOCO. The radicals that were formed from the initial cosmicray hit (CH2NH2 or CH3NH) can then form up with the HOCO, turning into... YOU GUESSED IT... GLYCINE, the simpest amino acid, NH2CH2COOH, or it's isomer CH3NHCOOH.

So there you have it! You have the creation of an amino acid, without the aid of a magic sky daddy or any other "higher being", "higher will", or "higher knowledge."