Scientists find organic matter from outer space in 3.3-billion-year-old rocks

asteroid flying by earth this weekend watch it online

Scientists believe they have located organic matter that is extraterrestrial in origin, in 3.3 billion year old rocks in the Makhonjwa Mountains in South Africa. This offers support to the theory that organic chemicals from space arrived on our planet aboard a meteorite and created the building blocks for the first development on life.

Geologists investigated a region of the Makhonjwa Mountains called the Josefdal Chert, which contains a large deposit of ancient volcanic rock. The rock formed in layers, and beneath the surface are carbon-filled layers from which the researchers collected samples. They analyzed the samples using a technique called Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) which studies the spins of electrons to figure out the origin of the organic matter. The findings showed similar signals to those seen in meteorites containing carbon, suggest that some of the material originated from outside of Earth.

It’s actually expected to find materials on Earth that originate elsewhere, due to meteorites both large and small which impact Earth carrying organic carbon molecules. But the challenge for scientists is to puzzle out the origins of this ancient organic matter, which is hard as the sediment in which the organics are buried changes over time and any organic matter is fossilized.

“Many researchers believe that extraterrestrial input on early earth may have provided abundant sources of organic precursors for the emergency of life [approximately 3.5 to 3.8 billion years] ago,” the lead author of the paper, Didier Gourier of the Institut de Recherche de Chimie de Paris, wrote in a description of the group’s work last year.

“However, so far there is no direct evidence of such extraterrestrial organic supply because the organic matter buried in solidified sediments of primitive seas has undergone important modifications (temperature, pressure, time) giving a fossilized carbonaceous material… As a result, although carbonaceous matter is easy to detect in very old sedimentary rocks… its origin is much more difficult to determine.”

Now this first piece of evidence has arrived, and we get a glimpse of how conditions on our planet might have been billions of years ago.

The research is published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

Social Media

Kim Kardashian can get a deepfake taken off YouTube. It’s much harder for you

YouTube took down an incredibly realistic — and fake — video purporting to show Kim Kardashian West discussing a shadowy organization called “Spectre” and mocking her fans for violating copyright.

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Emerging Tech

Mount Everest is now home to the world’s highest weather station

A team of scientists has created a new record with the installation of the world’s highest weather station atop Everest. Data from the expedition will help researchers better understand the effect of climate change on the region.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint courts content creators with Delta Company

Ghost Recon Breakpoint developers are setting the stage for community engagement with the newly revealed Delta Company. The platform will provide resources for content creators, streamers, tournament organizes, and community managers.
Emerging Tech

Got $400 million to burn? The world’s largest airplane is up for sale

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, is up for sale. All it'll cost you is $400 million dollars. The brainchild of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the plane was supposed to make space travel more accessible and affordable.
Emerging Tech

Ex astris, scientia: Star Trek logo spotted on the surface of Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been boldly going to Mars and capturing images since 2005, and now it has spotted something where no man has gone before: a structure on the planet's surface which will look familiar to Trekkies.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

With deepfake videos making headlines, and campaigns against the Photoshopping of models, people are more aware than ever of the digital manipulation of images. Now Adobe wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for manned missions to Mars

Survival on Mars is a massive challenge for humanity. To cope with the highly variable temperatures, lack of oxygen and water, and high levels of radiation, the Mars 2020 rover will carry instruments to pave the way for human exploration.
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods struggles to keep up with Impossible Burger demand

Red Robin and White Castle have reported Impossible Burger shortages, as it appears that Impossible Foods is struggling to keep up with demand. The company will be selling its meat-like patties in retail outlets within the year.
Emerging Tech

Pass the salt please: Table salt found on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Astronomers have spotted something unexpectedly familiar on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa -- sodium chloride, better known as table salt. This suggests the under-ice oceans on Europa are salty and similar to our oceans on Earth.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures explosive galaxy, the site of three recent supernovae

Hubble's latest image is of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051 which is notable for having played host to a large number of supernovae: the first seen in 1983 (SN 1983I), the second in 2003 (SN 2003ie), and the most recent in 2010 (SN 2010br).
Emerging Tech

The grainy texture of Saturn’s rings reveals clues to their origins

New analysis of data from Cassini shows that Saturn's rings are not smooth, but rather are grainy in texture. Scientists believe that tiny moons within the rings cause materials to cluster and form clumps and straw-like patterns.