Skip To Content
Cambridge University Science Magazine
Biomolecules once formed in asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter
This bizarre discovery was thought to be explained by the same radioactive processes which heat the inside of the earth. However, scientists Roberge and Menzel, researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, reviewed this theory and discovered that a subtle error was made in how it was applied years ago when it became published and accepted.

On October 1st this year, Roberge and Menzel published a paper in which they correct the erroneous physics and also apply it to a more modern understanding of our young solar system.

This has generated a new theory:  as the asteroids moved through the Solar System, the magnetic fields that they experienced created an electric field, which in turn, pushed electrical currents through the asteroid, heating it in the same way that electrical currents heat a toaster. This heating process was sufficient enough to generate the warm ‘Goldilocks’ conditions necessary to support the seeds of life which formed in these asteroids. Unlike scientists before them,  Roberge and Menzel were able to reach this conclusion thanks to a richer and more accurate modern understanding of the magnetic field and solar winds of the early solar system.


Written by Caroline Steel.