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Initial conditions

Undoubtedly, life is the result of a long and complex process that started 4.5 Gy ago, and, perhaps, even earlier, with the formation of the Solar System. The inception of life was favored by the crust composition, differing from the solar and primordial nebulae by a significant enhancement in rock-forming elements.

Two possibilities have been suggested for the origin of terrestrial life, the first one postulates the accumulation of complex organic molecules, likely synthesized during the very first steps of the Solar System and then inherited by its smallest bodies, asteroids and comets. The second one involves small molecules, in this case, prebiotic chemistry would be initially fed by simple molecules such as H2, N2, H2O, H2S, NH3, CH4, CO, CO2, HCN and P4O10 exhaled from magma. Chemistry could have taken place in tiny compartments at the surface of minerals or in quasi-immobilized water environments.

This part of the project will be funded by the ERC AG “The Dawn of Organic Chemistry” and ANR “PLANET- FORMING-DISKS”, both led by IPAG members, whichwill contribute to the full understanding of inherited molecules. We plan to furnish the list and relative abundances of the most complex organic molecules which can be synthesised throughout the evolution of the Solar Nebula, based on astronomical observations, theory and models.

Submitted on January 25, 2024

Updated on January 25, 2024