If terms like adenine and guanine bring back unpleasant memories of Genetics 101 here’s one reason to give the words a second thought: A team of scientists has discovered that these and other DNA building blocks can form in outer space and have been deposited on Earth’s surface by meteorites. To reach this eye-opening conclusion, researchers ground up and analyzed a set of twelve meteorites collected from Antarctica and Australia. Within them, the scientists found a treasure trove of molecules that may have played a key role in allowing early forms. Read more and download the iPad app.

NASA Visualization Explorer, September 2011.