Narrator: This is Science Today. Scientists can distinguish whether materials were formed inside or outside of the solar system by examining the isotopic ratios of these materials. John Bradley, director of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, recently found an isotope ratio that was a fingerprint of a pre-solar environment.
Bradley: Basically, we just use the isotopes to prove that some of the organic matter in these particles actually comes from the interstellar medium. It was formed long before the solar system was even here. This research is chasing what is perhaps the ultimate, scientific question. Where did we come from? How did life get started on Earth? And this is perhaps one of the most complicated problems in science today – understanding how a primordial piece of organic goop made the transition from something that's dead to something that's self-replicating in life. I think in the next fifty years or so, we will answer that question.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.