Comets and prebiotic organic molecules on early earth

C. F. Chyba, K. P. Hand

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Life on the Earth may have originated in the final throes of the heavy bombardment, although the evidence for this conclusion is uncertain. This bombardment could have rendered the Earth's surface inhospitable for life for hundreds of millions of years subsequent to terrestrial formation. It may also have delivered to the Earth's surface prebiotic organic molecules of relevance to the origin of life. The quantitative importance of these exogenous sources, in comparison with endogenous production, depends largely on the nature of the early atmosphere. This chapter reviews current controversies in these areas and presents the current best, albeit still tentative, estimates of endogenous and exogenous sources of organics, and resulting concentrations of organics in the Earth's early oceans, for a range of early Earth models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComets and the Origin and Evolution of Life
EditorsPaul Thomas, Christopher Chyba, P. Christopher
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameAdvances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics
ISSN (Print)1610-8957
ISSN (Electronic)1613-1851

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science


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