Science News - March 13th, 2008

Spitzer Finds Organics And Water Where New Planets May Grow
Researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered large amounts of simple organic gases and water vapor in a possible planet-forming region around an infant star, along with evidence that these molecules were created there. They've also found water in the same zone around two other young stars.

Life's Building Blocks From Space? Meteorites A Rich Source For Primordial Soup
The organic soup that spawned life on Earth may have gotten generous helpings from outer space, according to a new study. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution have discovered concentrations of amino acids in two meteorites that are more than ten times higher than levels previously measured in other similar meteorites. This result suggests that the early solar system was far richer in the organic building blocks of life than scientists had thought, and that fallout from space may have spiked Earth's primordial broth.

Startling Discovery About Photosynthesis: Many Marine Microorganism Skip Carbon Dioxide And Oxygen Step
A startling discovery by scientists at the Carnegie Institution puts a new twist on photosynthesis, arguably the most important biological process on Earth. Photosynthesis by plants, algae, and some bacteria supports nearly all living things by producing food from sunlight, and in the process these organisms release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

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