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Astrobiologists finds clues to origins of life

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posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:04 AM
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Source: NASA Ames Research Center, Stanford University (via UASR)
Date: February 18, 1999
Written by: Kathleen Burton, David F. Salisbury

A team of scientists from NASA and Stanford University announced today that they have created some of the chemicals essential for life in an environment similar to that found in deep space. This finding could shed light on the origin of life itself.

Astrobiologists at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, and chemists at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, conducted lab experiments to simulate the conditions that exist in interstellar clouds of dust and gas. The dust in such clouds plays an important role in the life cycles of solar systems. It is the debris of previous generations of stars and the material from which new stars and solar systems will develop.

To conduct their experiments, NASA scientists simulated the dust clouds of the interstellar medium by freezing and then irradiating the most common carbon-bearing molecules found there. The Stanford University researchers then analyzed the resulting chemical products. Their results confirmed the presence of organics that served as the building blocks for the development of life on Earth. The team reported its results in the Feb. 19 issue of the journal Science.

"We wanted to see what chemistry could occur under conditions like those in molecular clouds -- the places where solar systems are made," said Max Bernstein, principal author and chemist at Ames and the SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA. "The chemical compounds that resulted are similar to those ubiquitous in living systems today, and play important roles in essential biological processes," he said.

"The importance of this work is that it increases the odds that carbon-based life may have evolved elsewhere," said Richard Zare, chemistry professor and team leader of the Stanford University collaborators.

"The molecules that we isolated in our lab experiments may have been exploited by the Earth's earliest organisms. That may be how these kinds of compounds become incorporated into our biochemistry," said Lou Allamandola, team senior researcher at Ames. "This is the dead center of the Astrobiology bulls-eye," he said, referring to Ames' core space initiative for the 21st century.

The researchers think that the molecules they created in the lab were biologically important for pre-biotic cells in two ways: quinones (oxidized hydrocarbons which are present in St. John's wort, aloe and henna) play a crucial part in electron transport in cells, and other by-products of the experiment enable cells to harness light energy for photosynthesis. The chemical products produced included quinones, aromatic ketones, alcohols and ethers.

"The same kinds of compounds that we detected in our experiments have been found in carbon-rich meteorites," said Scott Sandford of Ames. "We are now seeing how these molecules in meteorites may have formed."

In space, oxidized hydrocarbons (similar to those the researchers created in the lab) are made in the interstellar medium and brought to Earth in interplanetary dust particles (microscopic bits of comets and asteroids) that drift down by the ton every day.

Previously, Allamandola showed that a family of carbon-containing compounds, which are common on Earth in coal, soot, and automobile exhaust, are the most abundant class of organic molecules in the Universe.





Wow, what a find.....ten years old though.


www.geocities.com...




posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:29 AM
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Yes, I've heard this before. It's very interesting. A few weeks ago, i was watching a show on the Science Channel about the Cassini space mission to Saturn. When speaking about Titan, and the possibility of life there, a scientist actually performed this experiment for the cameras, except they used the main elements and compounds that are commonly found on Titan. The experiment provided the same results, where organic molecules were formed. It proved that there is a possibility that life can eventually form on the almost earth-like moon, if it hasn't already.

I wonder when scientist will be able to figure out exactly how life comes to be from these non-living organic molecules though. How something inanimate is able to develop into a living organism is just beyond me. It is way over my head, and just mind-boggling to think about for me. Maybe when they find this out, they could even be able to create life itself from complete scratch. If this is possible, then it probably wouldn't be out of the question for them to harness this technology and improve it to where they could create entire living creatures and species that don't exist anywhere else. This finding, and the whole concept of the formation and creation of life, is fascinating.

One day, scientists will be in their labs playing God

Hell, they've already begun to...



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:30 AM
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Disclaimer: I'm a theist but not of the Abrahamic faiths. I have minor biblical scholar and scriptural skills. Also I am not a scientific/legal or medical expert in any field. Beware of my Contagious Memes! & watch out that you don't get cut on my Occams razor.All of this is my personal conjecture and should not be considered the absolute or most definitive state of things as they really are. Use this information at your own risk! I accept no liability if your ideology comes crashing down around you with accompanying consequences!

Explanation: Starred and Flagged!

I'm slightly puzzled by this apparent incongruency....

1stly the report states...

"We wanted to see what chemistry could occur under conditions like those in molecular clouds -- the places where solar systems are made," said Max Bernstein, principal author and chemist at Ames and the SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA. "The chemical compounds that resulted are similar to those ubiquitous in living systems today, and play important roles in essential biological processes,".

Note: Bold is my emphasis!

But then it goes on and states...

"The molecules that we isolated in our lab experiments may have been exploited by the Earth's earliest organisms. That MAY be how these kinds of compounds become incorporated into our biochemistry,".

Note: All bold,italics,capitalizing and underlining is my emphasis!

So according to the above they believed that the earliest organisms wern't based on such chemistry themselves but instead just exploited an emerging niche market bizzaar that is still ongoing due to favourable supply and demand forces at play!


Personal Disclosure: "This is the dead center of the Astrobiology bulls-eye," ???
NOPE! SORRY! Try focusing on the origins of the "earliest organisms" and not the luxurious resource supply that they seem to have exploited to their benifit. Close but No Cigar!



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:30 AM
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That is one of the most intense things I have ever read.
Jeez...need to sleep on that one.



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:31 AM
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That is one of the most intense things I have ever read.
Jeez...need to sleep on that one.



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 02:32 AM
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reply to post by LetTheTruthBeTold
 



Yup, and then government will find a way of using it for military purposes.

Two lines?



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 03:06 AM
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reply to post by Deep Thoughts
 


Oh of course they will. Because that's the way our society thinks. Let's find ever-more inventive ways to kill each other and ourselves, is basically the motto our species lives by. Whenever a new technology or discovery comes about, the first thing our government thinks is how it can be used as a weapon. If it has any practical or beneficial uses, then it will probably become classified, and not be made available to the general population for years after. Of all federally funded people/companies, it's always the ones that design stuff with military purposes that receive the most money and become the wealthiest.

Hell, if they cut even just 0.5% of the US military's galactic-proportions budget and used it to fund findings such as this, perhaps they could make a breakthrough like the one i described earlier within a few years. But, America's military expenditures are still more than every country Europe and Asia combined, and NASA funding is being cut (in terms of overall federal budget percentage). Hopefully, we wake up soon and realize how important findings like this are, and work on them in order to advance our technology, knowledge and understanding of life and the universe, and ourselves as a species. Science is very important, and it will be essential in our future.



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