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Keywords:

  • amino acids;
  • chirality;
  • comets;
  • gas chromatography;
  • origins of life
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Interstellar ices were simulated by condensing and UV irradiating molecules such as H2O, CH3OH, and NH3 at 80 K. Multidimensional gas chromatography analyses allowed for the identification of 26 amino and diamino acids (see graph). The results support the suggestion that potentially prebiotic molecules originating from the photochemistry of interstellar ices could have been incorporated in cometary dust and delivered to the early Earth.