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Comet dust harbors life's building blocks

Extraterrestrial source confirmed for comet’s amino acids

View an animation showing how Stardust flew in range of the comet Wild 2 to collect these space dust samples at the bottom of this article.

A building block of proteins found in samples from an icy comet’s halo suggests that the ingredients of life could have hitched a ride to early Earth, researchers reported August 16 at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

“The early Earth was bombarded with comets and meteorites,” says Jamie Elsila of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who led the new analysis. “This is one more clue to what ingredients could have been present on the early Earth and how they could have gotten there.”

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