Thursday, August 16, 2007

How Life Can Form In Outer Space

Earlier this week, you may recall that I blogged about the distant possibility of bacteria’s immortality, and how this bodes well for the fringe theory that life came from outer space. Now a new theory, reported by Science Daily, suggests life could form out of inorganic space dust.

In the piece we find that, “under the right conditions, particles of inorganic dust can become organized into helical structures.” This according to a team of scientists from Russia, Germany and Australia. When organized into helical structures, the compounds may behave in lifelike ways. Does this mean they talk to each other and play chess? Not specifically, but they may “bifurcate to form two copies of the original structure,” “interact to induce changes in their neighbours,” and “can even evolve into yet more structures.” This is how DNA behaves. And we all know what that led to.

These “helical structures” are formed when space dust is superheated to a plasma. Did you know (I didn’t) that plasma is “essentially the fourth state of matter.” In a plasma state, “electrons are torn from atoms leaving behind a miasma of charged particles.”

It’s a long shot, but imagine if some of this plasma-born organic material hitched a ride on an asteroid that slammed into the Earth a few billion years ago. Also, consider this, plasma can be formed by lightning. Because of that, “perhaps an inorganic form of life emerged on the primordial earth, which then acted as the template for the more familiar organic molecules we know today.”

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.