Reasons to Believe

UV Radiation Destroys Amino Acids

TNRTB Archive - Retained for reference information

Discovery of the rapid destruction of amino acids in astronomical environments continues to highlight problems in naturalistic models of life’s origin(s). The “follow-the-water” philosophy of many scientists assumes that any place where liquid water exists is a suitable habitat for life to form. Recent studies of the building blocks of biomoleculesamino acidsin ice environments show that even in the remote regions of the solar system, ultraviolet (UV) radiation dramatically diminishes the quantities of amino acids available for life chemistry. For instance, on Jupiter’s moon Europa (one proposed life site), UV radiation destroys half of even the most robust amino acids in the top meter of ice in less than 10 years. Such short timescales pose significant hurdles for naturalistic models of life’s origin but find an easy fit in a model like RTB’s, where a supernatural Creator introduces life in a properly prepared environment.

o   Grazyna E. Orzechowska et al., “Ultraviolet Photolysis of Amino Acids in a 100 K Water Ice Matrix: Application to the Outer Solar System Bodies,” Icarus 187 (2007): 584-91.


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Subjects: Life on Other Planets, Prebiotic Chemistry

Dr. Fazale Rana

In 1999, I left my position in R&D at a Fortune 500 company to join Reasons to Believe because I felt the most important thing I could do as a scientist is to communicate to skeptics and believers alike the powerful scientific evidence—evidence that is being uncovered day after day—for God’s existence and the reliability of Scripture. Read more about Dr. Fazale Rana