Scientists May Have Found Protein in a Meteorite, Which Means Space Is Totally Yoked

Scientists May Have Found Protein in a Meteorite, Which Means Space Is Totally Yoked

by Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics

But it doesn’t mean we’ve found extraterrestrial life.

A trio of scientists believe they’ve identified the very first protein from outer space. They found the proteins in two meteorite samples, the Allende meteorite and the Acfer 086 meteorites, which researchers previously discovered in Mexico in 1969 and Algeria in 1990, respectively. The scientists—who hail from Harvard University, PLEX Corporation, and Bruker Scientific—posted the research to the preprint server ArXiv on February 22.

Proteins were “discovered in Allende and Acfer 086 with extra-terrestrial isotope enhancement that confirmed that these unexpected molecules were not artifacts due to terrestrial contamination,” they wrote. They dubbed the protein, which is similar to proteins commonly found on Earth, hemolithin.

Naturally, we had the same question as you probably do: Does this mean we’ve found extraterrestrial life? Well, no. Proteins are among the ingredients for life. The organic molecules are made up of long strings of amino acids. But technically, they’re not a sign of life as we know it.

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