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Hadean Eon – Earth, Moon, proteins, RNA

By |2018-09-06T07:09:44+00:00June 24th, 2017|Geology|

In the Hadean Eon, Earth was covered with active volcanoes like this one. Why is it called the Hadean Eon? Scientists named the Hadean Eon after the Greek god Hades, who ruled the underworld. That's because during most of the Hadean period the surface of the Earth must have been like the Christian [...]

What are amino acids? Organic chemistry

By |2017-06-02T23:31:28+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Biology, Chemistry|

A model of the amino acid molecule glycine (red is oxygen, black is carbon, yellow is hydrogen, and blue is nitrogen atoms) Amino acids are molecules made out of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen atoms (and a little sulphur). The earliest amino acids formed in space, about 14 billion years ago, before our solar [...]

What is phosphorus? Atoms, elements, chemistry

By |2017-06-02T15:39:41+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Biology, Chemistry|

Diagram of a phosphorus atom Phosphorus atoms have fifteen protons and sixteen neutrons, so they're just a little lighter than sulphur atoms, in the middle of the range for atoms. Stars make phosphorus when two oxygen atoms get very hot and squash together into one phosphorus atom. All living things, both plants and [...]

What is nitrogen? Atoms, Elements, Chemistry

By |2018-04-24T14:46:22+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

Diagram of a nitrogen atom Inside a red giant star, the star smashes lighter atoms together. Smashing atoms gets the star energy to burn, and also leaves extra heavier atoms. Nitrogen is one of these heavier atoms, left over when a star smashes together carbon atoms. Nitrogen is not very heavy, though, and a [...]

Natural Selection – Evolution and Biology

By |2017-05-29T17:09:11+00:00May 29th, 2017|Biology|

The feet of a person with six toes on each foot Whenever protons and electrons bump into each other, or atoms bump into each other, or molecules bump into each other, or prokaryotic cells bump into each other, or DNA molecules inside cells divide - whenever any of these things happen, they can happen [...]

What is RNA? Cell biology and evolution

By |2018-04-16T00:39:56+00:00May 29th, 2017|Biology|

RNA molecule: A single strand of RNA, seen under an electron microscope The RNA molecule was probably one of the earliest steps towards life on Earth. RNA is short for "ribonucleic acid". That's a very long, complicated molecule made out of amino acids linked together. The amino acids are made out of atoms of [...]

What are proteinoids? Thermal proteins – Biology

By |2017-05-29T00:59:08+00:00May 29th, 2017|Biology|

Thermal proteins seen through a microscope Around four billion years ago, some of the amino acid molecules that were on the planet Earth began to join together into bigger molecules with hundreds of atoms in them, called themal proteins. Probably this happened in places where the water in the oceans on Earth was [...]

What is a protein? Cell biology

By |2017-05-29T00:53:03+00:00May 29th, 2017|Biology|

When the first amino acids came to Earth from space inside chunks of ice about five billion years ago, the ice melted on the hot Earth and turned to water, and the amino acids were still floating around in those early oceans. Once in a while, some of those amino acids bumped into each other [...]