Researchers Have Discovered What Vitamin On Meteorite Samples?
Answer: Vitamin B
In early 2014, researchers working for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center announced they had discovered a rather interesting organic compound on the carbon-rich meteorites they’d sampled: Vitamin B. Specifically Vitamin B3, niacin or nicotinic acid, was found in concentrations between 30-600 parts per billion with a higher concentration the more pristine the sample.
Although the researchers are reserved in their claims about the presence of niacin in the meteorite samples, given that niacin is a critical precursor to the amine nicotinamide adenine dinuclotide which in turn is a component of amino acids, the implications of the discovery are significant. Amino acids are the principal components of proteins and, as you can imagine, an important element of life here on Earth. Although previous research has shown it’s possible niacin was created through non-organic means billions of years in Earth’s past, it’s exciting to consider that during the same time period in ancient Earth’s history the global supply of niacin was significantly boosted by meteor storms.
Image courtesy of NASA.