Was the Primordial Soup a Hearty Pre-Protein Stew?

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Georgia Tech's broad array of Earth chemistry, astrophysics, and evolution research, bolstered by related engineering fields, could offer insight into the possibility of complex life on exoplanets. Much of our research in these areas is funded in part by NASA Astrobiology Institute. Photo: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

The first polymers of life may have arisen by a daily process still observed on Earth today, such as the repeated drying and refilling of pond water. Credit: Karl Magnacca, John Boyer/SXC, bearfotos/Freepik, Vecteezy.com, and NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Center for Chemical Evolution

The first polymers of life may have arisen by a daily process still observed on Earth today, such as the repeated drying and refilling of pond water. Credit: Karl Magnacca, John Boyer/SXC, bearfotos/Freepik, Vecteezy.com, and NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Center for Chemical Evolution

Martha Grover, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Facundo Fernández, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, in Fernández's lab. Credit: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore

Nicholas Hud researches the possible origins of life chemicals on early Earth, when many of them may have formed in puddles. He has produced good candidates for precursors of RNA in easy reactions and in plentiful quantities using barbituric acid and melamine. Credit: Georgia Tech / Fitrah Hamid