In what appears to lend weight to the theory that life on earth originated in outer space, scientists have discovered nitrogen "building blocks" in a primitive asteroid found in Antarctica in 1995. Tests have revealed that the rock contained ammonia which is partly made of nitrogen, and that it contains DNA and proteins - the building blocks of life.
According to some scientists, all the basic molecules needed for the formation of primitive life forms were not available on earth.
A team of researchers from Arizona State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, carried out tests on rock extracted from the meteorite, called Grave Nunataks 95229.
The researchers found large amounts of hydrocarbons as also plentiful supplies of ammonia in the rock.
According to researchers, given that meteorites and comets had been reaching the earth since its formation it had been proposed that the exogenous influx from these bodies provided the organic inventories necessary for the emergence of life.
Meteorites have evoked much interest among the scientific community since the 19th century when it was found they contained chemicals which could only be formed in cold temperatures, as also those that had been altered by heat.