Abstract

The onset of life on Earth was preceded by prebiotic chemistry in which complex organic molecules were formed from simpler ones in the presence of energy sources. These prebiotic organics were either synthesized on Earth itself (endogenously) or synthesized extraterrestrially (exogenously) and then delivered to Earth. Organics have been detected in space and have been successfully synthesized under experimental conditions simulating both extraterrestrial environments and early Earth environments. Homochirality and enantiomeric enrichment of organic molecules, which were once considered to be biosignatures, can, in fact, be achieved abiotically. It is important to determine conditions that allow the formation of prebiotic organics and those that preserve them against degradation.

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