Rethinking Earth's Early Atmosphere

  title={Rethinking Earth's Early Atmosphere},
  author={Christopher F. Chyba},
  pages={962 - 963}
  • C. Chyba
  • Published 13 May 2005
  • Environmental Science
  • Science
More than 50 years ago, Miller performed his groundbreaking experiments that showed that an atmosphere containing methane and ammonia could yield amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Today, many authors favor a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere, but such an atmosphere is much less suitable for producing organic molecules. In his Perspective, Chyba highlights the report by Tian et al ., who propose instead that the early atmosphere was carbon dioxide--based but may have contained many… 
Prebiotic materials from on and off the early Earth
  • M. Bernstein
  • Physics
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2006
One of the greatest puzzles of all time is how did life arise? It has been universally presumed that life arose in a soup rich in carbon compounds, but from where did these organic molecules come? In
Prebiotic chemistry: chemical evolution of organics on the primitive Earth under simulated prebiotic conditions.
A series of prebiotic mixtures of simple molecules, sources of C, H, N, and O, were examined under conditions that may have prevailed during the Hadean eon (4.6-3.8 billion years), namely an
Pre-biotic organic synthesis: laboratory simulation experiments and their significance for the origin of life in the solar system
  • M. Engel
  • Environmental Science
    Optical Engineering + Applications
  • 2011
It is commonly assumed that the origin of life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere in the solar system was preceded by the synthesis and accumulation of organic compounds essential for life as we know it
Hydrogen cyanide polymers, comets and the origin of life.
The continuing investigations suggest that HCN polymers are a plausible link between cosmochemistry and the origin of informational macromolecules, and are basically of two types: ladder structures with conjugated -C=N- bonds and polyamidines readily converted by water to polypeptides.
Atmospheric Escape and Evolution of Terrestrial Planets and Satellites
The origin and evolution of Venus’, Earth’s, Mars’ and Titan’s atmospheres are discussed from the time when the active young Sun arrived at the Zero-Age-Main-Sequence. We show that the high EUV flux
Laboratory simulation of UV irradiation from the Sun on amino acids. I: irradiation of tyrosine
Abstract The effects of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation on water solutions of tyrosine (HO—C6H4—CH2—CHNH2—COOH) have been investigated using a Xe lamp in the region 200–800 nm. This is a step in
5. Prebiotic Chemistry – Biochemistry – Emergence of Life (4.4–2 Ga)
The attempts to devise plausible scenarios accounting for the emergence of the main molecular devices and processes found in biology are presented including the role of nucleotides at early stages (RNA world).
Radiation resistance in thermophiles: mechanisms and applications
A picture of radiation resistance thermophiles, their adaptive mechanisms to evade stress viz., radiation and desiccation, their present applications along with new horizons in near future are delineated.
Chemical Evolution of Simple Amino Acids to Asparagine under Discharge onto the Primitive Hydrosphere: Simulation Experiments Using Contact Glow Discharge
Asparagine is an important amino acid for abiotic polypeptide synthesis. In simulation experiments, it was obtained in 3.0% yield (based on the amount of consumed alanine) from alanine (100 mM) and...


A Hydrogen-Rich Early Earth Atmosphere
The organic soup in the oceans and ponds on early Earth would have been a more favorable place for the origin of life than previously thought.
A production of amino acids under possible primitive earth conditions.
In this study, an apparatus was built to circulate CHI4, NH3, H2O, and H2 past an electric discharge, and the resulting mixture has been tested for amino acids by paper chromatography.
Evolution of the atmosphere.
  • J. Nunn
  • Geology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. Geologists' Association
  • 1998
Chemical events on the primitive Earth.
  • P. Abelson
  • Geology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1966
The hypothesis of an early methane-ammonia atmosphere is found to be without solid foundation and indeed is contraindicated, and arguments concerning feasible components support the view that amino acids and proteins preceded sugars and nucleic acids.
A model of the earth in its early stage is proposed, and the sources of energy for the production of the initial organic compounds were ultraviolet light, electrical discharge, and high temperatures (under local conditions such as those produced by volcanoes).
Energy yields for hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde syntheses: The hcn and amino acid concentrations in the primitive ocean
These results are a model for atmospheric corona discharges, which are more abundant than lightning and different in character and allows a yearly production rate to be estimated.
Before enzymes and templates: theory of surface metabolism.
It is proposed here that, at an early stage of evolution, there are precursor organisms drastically different from anything the authors know, and life at this early stage is autotrophic and consists of an autocatalytic metabolism confined to an essentially twodimensional monomolecular organic layer.
Endogenous production, exogenous delivery and impact-shock synthesis of organic molecules: an inventory for the origins of life
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.
Influence of ionic inorganic solutes on self-assembly and polymerization processes related to early forms of life: implications for a prebiotic aqueous medium.
It is suggested that cellular life may not have begun in a marine environment because the abundance of ionic inorganic solutes would have significantly inhibited the chemical and physical processes that lead to self-assembly of more complex molecular systems.
Palaeobiology: Dating earliest life
Claims that 3.8-billion-year-old rocks from Greenland contain carbonaceous remnants of very early life have been the subject of argument for several years. The latest analyses look like settling