» Home > In the News

Phosphorus and Life

17 January 2020

at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/16/astronomers-reveal-interstellar-t… .. which comes with lots of very interesting comments. Astronomers reveal an interstellar thread of one of life's building blocks – phosphorus. It is present in human and animal DNA and cell membranes  and is an essential element of life, we are told. Phosphorus is also in the food we eat – such as meat and dairy products. How it arrived on Earth is presented as a mystery that has now been solved by astronomers. They claim to have traced back the spread of phosphorus from a star forming region linking its arrival with comets. Molecules containing phosphorus are said to have been dispersed by comets and distributed through the solar system – but does life exist anywhere apart from Earth in that narrow spectrum. Phosphorus, it is thought, played an important role in kick starting life.

Phosphorus bearing molecules form in clouds of gas and dust where stars are formed. To further understand the process the researchers looked at data from the Rosetta mission to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. They found the necessary phosphorus bearing molecules in the information beamed back a few years ago. See also www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso2001/eso2001a.pdf

Skip to content