NASA scientists found organic materials that formed in the most distant reaches of the early Solar system in a unique meteorite.
The study was performed on the Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite, a rare type of meteorite that is rich in organic (carbon-bearing) compounds.
Organic matter in meteorites is a subject of intense interest because this material formed at the dawn of the Solar System and may have seeded the early Earth with the building blocks of life. The Tagish Lake meteorite is especially valuable for this work because much of it was collected immediately after its fall over Canada in 2000 and has been maintained in a frozen state, minimizing terrestrial contamination. The collection and curation of the meteorite samples preserved its pristine state.