On February 22nd 2020, three scientists announced their latest discovery. They had found protein outside of Earth. The finding is significant for a number of reasons but how important this step will be can only be determined in time. For now we can only sit and wonder what this could mean about outer space and what it tells us about the formation of our world.
The question of whether there is life in space has been asked many times and we have yet to get a satisfactory answer. Some say that if there was life outside of Earth they would have made contact with us by now. Others say that the universe is so large to think we are the only living organisms of our intelligence level is beyond arrogant. They argue that the question is not if there is life outside this planet, it is, is that life close enough that we can ever communicate with them? These theories although both convincing are just that, theories. Theories are just scientific ideas whereas we want answers and evidence.
The recent discovery is not exactly proof of life outside Earth but it is the closest we have got so far. Protein was discovered on two meteorites called Allende and Acfer 086. It was proven that these proteins were not formed by humans and so came from somewhere in outer space. Scientists have called these alien proteins hemolithin.
While it does not prove the existence of life outside Earth it shows that there is another ingredient for life out there. Protein is an essential part of forming life and the evidence that it exists in outer space suggests that there may be something out there. Essentially if you were wondering if there were cakes in your neighbors kitchen, and you see him walking out of his house with some flour on his sleeve you can start to wonder (that does suggest some sort of premeditation behind this protein element, we are certainly not suggesting that there is a cook collecting ingredients for the universe, but who knows, it doesn’t hurt to have another theory).
Scientists have felt for many years that life on Earth actually started because of some outside interference. Scientific research appears to suggest that the Earth existed for many hundreds of thousands of years before any life began. Then, something happened, and life began. Leading scientists estimate that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old and that life may have begun around 3.77 billion years ago.
Some scientists suggest that a meteor may have crashed on Earth and changed some of the elements that existed here. This may have led to life being created. At the moment we know very little about this new protein that was discovered. We don’t know how it was formed although many suspect it formed at the same time as the solar system.
This is not the first organic compound we have found either. To date we have found many amino acids that are the building blocks of a protein but to find a full protein is getting scientists pretty excited. The meteorites used were from 1969 and 1990. The reason they were only tested now is because the technology has only now reached a stage where it is good enough to conduct tests like this. This suggests that as we advance further and further in the field of technology, space will become a lot clearer.
While we lack proof of how life started on Earth and if life exists in other parts of the universe, we are getting closer and closer to finding out how we belong in this universe and what it all means. This latest piece of research is a fascinating step on the discoveries of mankind. Perhaps we will look back on this finding one day as the beginning of the answer to the universe’s greatest mysteries.