Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Exploring Space - The Quest for Life Exploring Space - The Quest for Life Exploring Space - The Quest for Life
Meteorites and Life - The Possible Relationship to Life

Did We Come From Comet Dust?

A Sweet Discovery: Sugars Found in Murchison

December 20, 2001

Dr. George Cooper in 1948
Dr. George Cooper in 1948
 

NASA scientist Dr. George Cooper and co-workers from the NASA Ames Research Center discovered sugar and several related organic compounds in the Murchison meteorite. This discovery provided the first evidence that another fundamental building block of life might have come from outer space. Previously, researchers had looked inside meteorites and found other organic, carbon-based compounds that play major roles in life on Earth, but no sugars.


Back Introduction 4.5 billion years ago  - In the Beginning: Formation of the Solar System less that 4.5 billion years ago - Crumbs of Creation: Formation of the Oort Cloud less that 4.5 billion years ago - More Crumbs of Creation: Formation of the Asteroid Belt May 1848 - Louis Pasteur's Discovery: The Design of Life Feb. 1953 - Stanley Miller's Experiment: Sparking the Building Blocks of Life Sept. 28, 1969 - The Murchison Meteorite Meets Earth Feb. 14, 1997 - Discovering a Left-Handed Link to Space: Amino Acids Found in Meteorite Dec. 20, 2001 - A Sweet Discovery: Sugars Found in Murchison Today - The Research Continues Next