There was too little time for a natural origin of life after the meteorite bombardment of the early Earth.
I. Protected regions
There are areas on Earth that would have been protected from the worst of the bombardment, such as deep-sea vents, which some origin of life researchers already believe important to the origin of life for independent reasons (Fry 2000:119).
Some prebiotic synthesis (synthesis of the chemicals of life before life actually existed) may also have been accomplished in space, and then delivered to Earth by meteorites, shortening the time needed on Earth for the origin of life. Molecules important for abiogenesis that have been detected in space include hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, and cyanoacetylene (Olomucki 1993:46); amino acids and sugars also have been found on meteorites.
III. Possible rapid origin
Even if life had only a small window of time in which to arise, this would not rule out a natural origin of life: many live avenues of research propose relatively rapid-acting mechanisms. According to Stanley L. Miller, of the famous Miller-Urey experiments, life may even have come into being within "a period of perhaps 10,000 years" (Miller 1992:3).
Fry I. 2000. The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Miller SL. 1992. The prebiotic synthesis of organic compounds as a step toward the origin of life. pp. 1-28 in Schopf 1992.
Olomucki M. 1993. The Chemistry of Life. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Schopf JW (ed). 1992. Major Events in the History of Life. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.
Last updated: 12 Feb 2015
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