Scientists have found an unprecedented, first-of-a-kind “alien” protein embedded within a meteorite that impacted the Earth more than three decades ago. The discovery has been dubbed by researchers as “unlike anything on Earth” as experts hope new data could shed light on clues about alien life.
A group of scientists believes it may have discovered a unique, first-of-a-kind alien protein inside a meteorite that smashed into Earth around thirty years ago. Analysis of the space rock may help experts answer important questions on alien life and how life in general formed in our solar system.
The discovery doesn’t mean we’ve found alien life, but it does mean that we are one step closer to understanding how alien life may have formed in the cosmos.
The protein was discovered in two meteorite samples, the Allende meteorite, and the Acfer 086 meteorite. Both space rocks were found in Mexico in 1969 and Algeria in 1990 respectively.
“Both meteorites 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,” the researchers penned down in their paper.
An analysis of the meteorites using state-of-the-art equipment allowed researchers from Harvard University, PLEX Corporation, and Bruker Scientific, to find what experts have never managed to discover before.
The new protein which they have dubbed “hemolithin” is similar to proteins that are commonly found here on Earth.
However, despite finding an alien protein, it doesn’t mean we’ve found conclusive evidence that aliens are real, and that extraterrestrial life has developed elsewhere. Although proteins are among the ingredients for life, the organic molecules which are made up of long strings of amino acids are not a sign of life as we know it.
Since the new alien protein was recently found, not much is known about it. Although scientists know the protein came from space, they don’t know specifically where it came from space, nor do they know under what conditions the protein formed.
However, they theorize that the protein may have formed alongside our solar system.
In the last few decades, we’ve stepped up our game in the search for alien life. Using innovative techniques and state-of-the-art equipment, researchers have found a number of interesting things.
The scientific effort put into the search for the origins of life has yielded important data. In 2012, NASA found amino acids present in a carbonaceous meteorite and in 2017, researchers stumped across an entirely new organic compound present inside the famous Murchison meteorite.
This discovery, however, is the first time that scientists have come across an entire protein.
It has long been theorized by scientists that the necessary ingredients for life on Earth may have come to Earth from outer space. These ingredients may have originated from distant regions in space and may have made their way to Earth transported by meteorites, asteroids or comets.
The new alien protein seems to provide important evidence that weighs in on that theory.
The results of their study have been published in the preprint server arXiv.