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        Life’s Rocky Start | Deep Sea Vents

        Learn about the theory that the building blocks of life originated within deep sea hydrothermal vents, in this video from NOVA: Life’s Rocky Start. With the discovery of life near hydrothermal vents, people realized that sunlight is not necessary to support a robust ecosystem. It is thus possible that life did not originate on Earth’s surface, as previously thought. An alternate theory developed that life could have originated from deep sea vents. Scientists conducted an experiment analogous to the Miller–Urey experiment: using pressure tubes, they simulated the high-temperature and high-pressure environment near deep sea vents. They found that gases and minerals reacted within the pressure tubes to form organic molecules, including amino acids.

        This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.

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