In samples brought interplanetary spacecraft Stardust from the comet Wild 2, was discovered glycine — simple partial amino acid found in nature and one of the fundamental elements required for the formation of living organisms.
Glycine is an amino acid used by living organisms to create proteins, it is important to note that this compound was first found in the comet. According to Jamie Elsila (Jamie Elsila), a doctor of medicine from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, this finding is a strong argument in favor of the theory of an extraterrestrial origin of life. In addition, it proves the existence of the foundation of life in space, which, in turn, leads to the conclusion that the existence of life not only on Earth, according to Carl Pilcher (Carl Pilcher), head of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
The sample was obtained by the Stardust mission the second in January 2004, he passed through the dense gas-dust envelope of the comet Wild 2 at a distance of several hundred million kilometers from Earth.
From container comprising airgel (sponge material able to retain particulate matter), samples were collected dust and gas from the envelope of the comet. The container was placed in the capsule, which separated from the unit and descended to Earth January 15, 2006. Since then, scientists involved in analyzing the substance, resulting in the collection of the samples. It took about two years to develop and test equipment capable of extract samples from the airgel without causing damage to them at the same time.
In order to ensure the originality of the sample and to exclude the version of the hit glycine in the container is already in the world, was held isotopic analysis. Found in the shell of comets glycine contains more heavy isotopes of carbon-13, while in the earth is dominated by the lighter isotope carbon-12, indicating the authenticity of the sample.