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Carbon globules in meteorite may have seeded Earth life


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Life on Earth may have started with the help of tiny hollow spheres that formed in the cold depths of space, a new study suggests. The analysis of carbon bubbles found in a meteorite shows they are not Earth contaminants and must have formed in temperatures near absolute zero.

The bubbles, called globules, were discovered in 2002 in pieces of a meteorite that had landed on the frozen surface of Tagish Lake in British Columbia, Canada, in 2000 (see Hydrocarbon bubbles discovered in meteorite).

Although the meteorite is a fragile type called a carbonaceous chondrite, many pieces of it have been remarkably well preserved because they were collected as early as a week after landing on Earth, so did not have much time to weather.

Researchers were excited to find the globules because they could have provided the raw organic chemicals needed for life as well as protective pockets to foster early organisms.

Source: New Scientist

Full article: http://tinyurl.com/ye4zy2

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I'm a believer in exogenesis but it only pushes the problem of the start of life to another planet or comet or where ever. I still believe that life is purely a chemical reaction though that can be replicated in the laboratory and I also believe that in my lifetime some scientist will create artificial life in a test tube (not to be confused with AI which I also believe will take place in the next 50 years)

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I'm a believer in exogenesis but it only pushes the problem of the start of life to another planet or comet or where ever.

EXACTLY! I've always been irritated by these 'seeds from space' theories coz they seem to ignore the elephant in the room. If you went looking for a place where life was likely to get started where would you go first? The icy vaccum of space where everthing is frozen solid or a planet which is warmed by a stable star emitting a nice spread of wavelengths, has trillions of gallons of water sloshing around all over the place, volcanoes spuing out all sorts of interesting compounds like there's no tomorrow, not to mention frequent and violent electrical storms. Isn't it much more likely that a place which has allowed life to flourish in its all its wonderful and varied forms is also the place where life originated in its most primitive form? I didn't even mention black smokers at the bottom of the ocean either - there, I just did.

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To say that life started with the help of non-living structures that formed in outer space is different from saying that life was brought here already formed into living structures that had formed somewhere else, or that we were the remains of a picnic held by the saucer men who left their crumb and raisin cakes behind on the shore.

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To say that life started with the help of non-living structures that formed in outer space is different from saying that life was brought here already formed into living structures that had formed somewhere else, or that we were the remains of a picnic held by the saucer men who left their crumb and raisin cakes behind on the shore.

Eh? :insects1:

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To say that life started with the help of non-living structures...

I'm specifically arguing against the idea that life itself has extra terrestrial origins.

I realise Steve's post doesn't directly imply this but I think phrases like 'seeded' and 'exogenesis'

are highly evocative and detract from all the obvious facts about Earth I mentioned earlier.

Complex molecules from the solar system landing on Earth may well have played their part but

then again, everything on Earth is ultimately extra terrestrial because elements form in stars.

I just think its a hell of a lot more likely that the first primitive replicating cells evolved because of the

chemical and environmental conditions present on Earth.

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I just think its a hell of a lot more likely that the first primitive replicating cells evolved because of the

chemical and environmental conditions present on Earth.

And possibly on tens of thousands of other planets that we will probably never know about.

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To say that life started with the help of non-living structures...

I'm specifically arguing against the idea that life itself has extra terrestrial origins.

I realise Steve's post doesn't directly imply this but I think phrases like 'seeded' and 'exogenesis'

are highly evocative and detract from all the obvious facts about Earth I mentioned earlier.

Complex molecules from the solar system landing on Earth may well have played their part but

then again, everything on Earth is ultimately extra terrestrial because elements form in stars.

I just thinkits a hell of a lot more likely that the first primitive replicating cells evolved because of the

chemical and environmental conditions present on Earth.

I agree, but I would be open to an argument that some of the building blocks of life were formed in the solar system and rained down on all the planets during the formation of the solar system and afterwards. I don't believe in life being brought here from somewhere else where it had already gotten underway, as Gordon said, and for the same reasons.

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There are 2 arguments, life must have had an origin, a starting point where it began first. I doubt we will ever know where that was but I believe that the earth wasn't it.

As an alternative it's possible that life is inevitable and given a set of conditions life ALWAYS spontaneously occurs.

As an aside and for those who care to there is an online version of the drake equation here: http://www.seti.org/site/pp.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=179074

You can make it spit out any number you like but given my best gu/estimates I get 15

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I doubt we will never know where that was but I believe that the earth wasn't it.

You're probably right that we'll never know what really happened all those billions of years ago, but the strange thing is that if you go looking for the origins of life outside the Earth, you find yourself looking for the sort of conditions that already exist, and have existed for billions of years, right here on the old homestead. It just seems nuts to put your chips on extra terrestrial origins when Earth is exactly the sort of place you'd expect to find life in the first place. :D

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I'm with tenbyfifty here. Space is a nasty place for earth organisms and earth is nasty for space organisms (if such exist). A comet dwelling creature would have no gravity or atmosphere to contend with, it would be cold enough that it could be made out of stuff that we see as gases e.g. butane for blood etc. When it lands its going to have a hard time, whereas life that developed here would, by it's very nature, be used to life here.

WRT stuff from space being essential for life, well all the bigger atoms were made in a supernova, so the material is extraterrestrial.

I disagree that its the same as the strong anthropic principle as I would expect life forms to be found elsewhere. That is to say that the universe, in my opinion, is not there to sustain us and give us pretty stars to look at. The other stars are where the other life forms exist.

The universe develops life, it's big, ergo lots of life.

I am therefore it is.

Captain Chaos

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One thing I don't undertsand with exogenesis theory is how much of this living material is supposed to be out there.

If life on earth was kick started by alien organisms its strikes me that there must be a lot of the stuff flying around the galaxy in order to have found its way to earth in the first place. If there's only a small amount of stuff then that means we were incredibly lucky to grab some; maybe too lucky to be believable.

If there is loads of the stuff out there, then why is there no evidence of a constant rain of this material on Earth over the aeons in the geological record; maybe its an erroneous assumption that it would show up, on the other hand there is fossil evidence of cyanobacteria-like fossils nearly 3.5 billion years old.

Its had a hell of a lot of time to find Earth again given that it seems to have got here quite soon after the Earth formed, at least within a billion years. So where is it?

I don't how valid my reasoning is but it seems like a fair question to ask and maybe one that somebody, somewhere has asked already.

What are your thoughts?

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Maybe life was on a nicely growing earthlike planet somewhere out there in the early throws of motherhood. Life in its infancy and.... BANG! Another planet decides it wants the same bit of space. Happens in the supermarket carpark ALL THE TIME. Where was I - Oh yeah... BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNGGGGGGG!!!!!! lumps of blood and snot and teeth ans gut everywhere - well more like lumps and bits and peices of two recently destroyed planets, and... whats this??? Now there are organisms that have evolved and grown on the stew pot earth that when necessary can withstand both great heat and amazingly low temperatures. There are microbes that when threatenned with starvation through lack of fuel will go into hybernation. Life finds a way. Back to that stuff I saw in the debris field, where is it now? Oh yeah here it is! Oh and theres some more! Quite alot really! Lots of what was probably outer crust - yup... LOADS of it. Wonder if anything was living on that bit? Lord knows what might've bee down beneath the surface.

Star Trek TNG had a few creatures that were born, grew up, lived and died in the cold vaccuum of OS. Could happen I spose. I'm not one of those people that says things are certainly possible or definately impossible when there is no proof either way. To commit to one side of a debate such as ET life with no proof is idiocy. When someone says to you 'there IS life out there and anyone who entertains the idea that its just us and some mould on mars' do me a favour and pause a moment. Take a breath - um,hah! Yes that's it. Now look into their eyes, deep into their eyes. Wait! Do you see it? Look again, it's there. Burning away in those overenthusiastic peepers - there! Did you see? Yes, you DID see didn't you? You know what that means? When they talk about life they don't mean primative lichen or creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water...

...they mean little green men!

Only an open mind would be chuffed to find some moss on some mud somewhere. Look out for the dissapointed looks around you. They will be the Pro ET Zellots - they are out there. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

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I'm with both 10x50 and steel rat. I think the chances are that life originated in the only place scientists have ever found that life CAN exist. Right here. Of course it's possible that life on earth was transferred from another planet by some impact or another. But that planet would have been very far away, and the journey would have been very long, and the entry into our atmosphere (assuming we already had one) would have been very dramatic. And the chances that after all of that, just a single cell survived, are very slim. Not to mention the chances of that chunk of life landing on another of the rare places in the universe with perfect conditions for life.

And we would have very little way of telling now if we are still being bombarded with bits from that planet, because what we find on the ground, (and underneath certain cars) after a meteorite impact, very little resembles how it looked before it entered the atmosphere.

I think that if life on earth was somehow helped into existence by an outer factor, it was a miraculous occasion, and we can excuse our ancestors for praising God for our existence.

Andrew

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...they mean little green men!

Only an open mind would be chuffed to find some moss on some mud somewhere. Look out for the dissapointed looks around you. They will be the Pro ET Zellots - they are out there. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I think this is a good point. I don't think exogenesis theories would be as appelaing to people if our thinking about space wasn't so influenced by 100 years of science fiction stories. We've romanticised ET life and we're desperate to find it even at the expense of dumbing down our own planet's potential to create life from scratch. The late, great Fred Hoyle was one of the founders of panspermia theory and also a science fiction writer - I think the two are quite strongly linked.

The real question is where did the first cells which led to all life on earth first orignitate, regardless of organic globules trapped in space rock. The simple fact is that, at the moment, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they originated outside earth, so it seems nuts to foster the blind belief that they did.

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