posted on Dec, 16 2005 @ 01:38 AM
I was just reading the "CO2" thread - and I started thinking about how we deal with CO2. For the most part, it's used by plants, which turn CO2 and
sunlight (as well as some other minerals and water) into glucouse. When the plant cells then consume the glucouse, they essentially take the Carbon
out of the CO2, and use it for their own needs. Then they release the O2 back into the air.
We, of course, continue the cycle, and get most of the carbon we need through food. We exhale CO2, and the cycle continues.
How marvelous this little arrangement no?
But that's not what I came to talk about. In a way it is... but in a way it isn't. Step back for a moment and consider how perfectly balanced this
is. Not only that, but it's something that is unique to an atmosphere with oxygen and carbon (without oxygen tolerancy, no life would've survived
the poisonous release of oxygen into the atmosphere of early earth).
Now, expand this to the theory of life on other worlds. How many places might have started life, but then life was cut short because oxygen tolerancy
was not evolved?
And it's not like earth was flooded with oxygen when this first happened. It was only a little bit - but it made a huge impact. Oxygen's actually
increased in our atmosphere, and has been linked with a few mass extinctions where there was literally too much oxygen for the creatures to handle.
How much do you think this would cut the Drake equation by?
Now, mind you, there's still likely many other places where life developed - but perhaps it's not as abundant as we would have hoped. Perhaps this
is why there's no life on a number of worlds, like Mars. Perhaps the fundamental of the "anti-oxidant" wasn't evolved, or that only
oxygen-releasing creatures evolved, or that nothing evolved passed the primordial soup (the original pond of life likely ate itself up - and it was
only as food was going short that a small cell-like organism found the secret to make food from the ground, the air, and the sunlight on the then
Stuff to think about...