Endogenous production, exogenous delivery and impact-shock synthesis of organic molecules: an inventory for the origins of life

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Abstract

Sources of organic molecules on the early Earth divide into three categories: delivery by extraterrestrial objects; organic synthesis driven by impact shocks; and organic synthesis by other energy sources (such as ultraviolet light or electrical discharges). Estimates of these sources for plausible end-member oxidation states of the early terrestrial atmosphere suggest that the heavy bombardment before 3.5 Gyr ago either produced or delivered quantities of organics comparable to those produced by other energy sources.

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Chyba, C., Sagan, C. Endogenous production, exogenous delivery and impact-shock synthesis of organic molecules: an inventory for the origins of life. Nature 355, 125–132 (1992) doi:10.1038/355125a0

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