16 May 2005

Soup d’jour: organic primordial

According to a paper in last Friday’s Science1, the escape of hydrogen from early Earth’s atmosphere might have taken place at much slower rates than previously thought. As a result, the authors explain, the rate of formation of prebiotic organic compounds by electric discharge in this hydrogen-rich atmosphere would have increased. These organic compounds would then have rained into the oceans creating an organic soup, and thereby setting the stage for the origin of life.

So, drink your soup quickly, before it starts to evolve!

1. Tian, F., Toon, O. B., Pavlov, A. A., De Sterck, H. 2005. A Hydrogen-Rich Early Earth Atmosphere. Science 308:1014-1017. Abstract

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