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Life almost undoubtedly began in space, and specifically in the hearts of comets, rather than on Earth, a new study claims.
Chandra Wickramasinghe, an astrobiologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, and his team say their calculations show that it is one trillion trillion times more likely that life started inside a slushy comet than on Earth.
"The comets and the warm watery clay pools in comets are settings in which the organic molecules are transformed into living structures in comets," Wickramasinghe said. "That transformation is more likely in some comet somewhere in the galaxy than in any small pond on the Earth."
The "assumption that Earth has very little clay while comets are full of clay is the key to their argument, and it is at best speculation," Morrison said.
Paul Falkowski, a biochemist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, also does not think that the site of life's origins can be figured out using simple calculations. "These basic kinds of things are dependent on the beginning initial assumptions. I don't know that we know the odds," Falkowski said. "We know the odds for exactly one planet, and it happened once, so everything else is a game."