“Human blood is a testament to life’s origin in the ocean,” observed marine biologist Jacques Cousteau, “its chemical composition is nearly identical to that of sea-water.” New research funded by NASA appears to confirm Cousteau’s insight. Scientists have identified a process that might have been key in producing the first organic molecules on Earth about 4 billion years ago, before the origin of life. The process, which is similar to what might have occurred in some ancient underwater hydrothermal vents, may also have relevance to the search for life elsewhere in the universe.“The consequences extend far beyond our own biosphere,” said evolutionary biologist, Victor Sojo, Gerstner Scholar at the American Museum of Natural History. “Similar hydrothermal systems might exist today elsewhere in the solar system, most noticeably in Enceladus and Europa–moons of Saturn and Jupiter, respectively–and so predictably in other water-rocky worlds throughout the universe.”

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