LISTEN: Johnson Space Center Radio –“NASA’s Search for the Origins of Life in the Universe”


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I have built a research lab where we look for organic molecules that we find in meteorites, says Aaron Burton. a planetary scientist NASA's Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at the Johnson Space Center, who seeks to understand how prebiotic chemical reactions could have led to the origins of life. "So these are carbon-containing molecules. And I'm interested in the ones that are related to biology. So things that biology could use. And so by looking at the organic molecules that are found in meteorites, that gives us a way to look at samples where biologically interesting molecules are made but they weren't made by life. They were just made by sort of abiotic chemistry, things that can happen in our solar system.

"And so I'm interested in doing that because I want to know about the chemistry that was going on before life started. And then from understanding that chemistry, try and take the next step forward to think of if we know the chemistry that was going on without life, how did that transition into a living system that we have?"


"Houston We Have a Podcast" is the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center, the home of human spaceflight, stationed in Houston, Texas. We bring space right to you! On this podcast, you’ll learn from some of the brightest minds of America’s space agency as they discuss topics in engineering, science, technology and more. You’ll hear firsthand from astronauts what it’s like to launch atop a rocket, live in space and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. And you’ll listen in to the more human side of space as our guests tell stories of behind-the-scenes moments never heard before.

This episode features Dr. Aaron Burton and Dr. Marc Fries, Planetary Scientists, who talk about searching for organic material in meteorites from around the solar system. They share what we're finding that helps us understand the fundamentals of life here on Earth and possibly the universe. This episode was recorded on November 28, 2017.


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