DailyDirt: Life On Other Worlds

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The origin of life is a pretty enormous mystery. There are several theories for how life might have come about, but it's difficult to design experiments to narrow down these options. In the meantime, researchers continue to look for clues and evidence for life that didn't originate on our planet. Here are just a few examples that could one day lead us in the right direction. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    other biospheres...

    we should be trying to create artificial biospheres that are completely separate from ours.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 6:56pm

    Re: other biospheres...

    to achieve what ???

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 7:01pm

    Life: Specifically life+70 versus life+50 with 20 renewal

    Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante's proposal to partially roll back the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension act, in a very limited way, to a base term of life plus fifty years with an optional twenty-year renewal period is certainly interesting.

    I could perhaps even get behind it —in a somewhat lukewarm fashion— provided that the copyright owners adequately renumerated the public for the extra twenty-year renewal term. I think that a fee of, oh, say, $1 million per year, payable into the U.S. treasury, for each year of the renewal term (up to a maximum of 20 years / $20 million) sounds about right.

    How does that sound to anyone else?

    At the peanut levels I've suggested, I suppose it won't really do much for the Federal budget, but even collecting a billion or two here and there has got to count for something.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 7:12pm

    Panspermia

    why would finding fossels from other planets support the panspermia theory, that is that life started somewhere else and 'migrated' to earth.

    it explains nothing about how life formed or where is started.

    it could be just as possible it started on earth and stayed on earth..

    panspermia does not explain anything, nor does finding fossels on other planets means life started there and came here.

    even if you find life elsewhere, and it is DNA based life just like that on earth is does not mean it either came from earth or another planet or even from the same source.

    there are a limited number of elements available, and the fact is DNA molucules are common and it might be the only way for life to form. So it could look exactly like life on earth but could have evolved on a completely separate basis..

    how life started, regardless of where it started is the real question, and panspermia does not address that, nor does finding signs of life in other parts of the universe.

    even if it looks the same it does not mean it came from the same source, the only theory it would support is that life can start, and we already know that fact.

    does anyone honestly think it would be statistically more possible for life to begin on another planet and be 'sent' to earth than it would be that simply life on earth started ON EARTH ?

    if the early conditions on earth was right for life to survive here (assuming they are from outer space) then those same early condition would be acceptable for life to develop here indecently.

    you might as well say some 'God' flew down and made life!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 7:15pm

    "NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered that Mars once had an environment suitable for life. This is an important find, and it raises questions of why Mars doesn't seem to have ubiquitous life now. "

    because it ONLY HAD an environment suitable for life, IT DOES NOT NOW.. that would be a clue as to why ubiquitous life there does not exist now !!!..

    "gee, had to think hard about that one !!!!!"

     

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    Anonymous Monkey (profile), Mar 21st, 2013 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: other biospheres...

    to achieve what ???


    either removal of all trolls to the artificial biosphere, or for use as a shelter from the troll-calypse ...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 9:46pm

    "This is an important find, and it raises questions of why Mars doesn't seem to have ubiquitous life now."

    How about: Mars cooled which resulted in the magnetic field disappearing. This allowed our beloved sol to send a few winds in that direction and well, no more atmosphere. What surface water there were evaporated and followed the atmosphere. Then some hundreds of millions of years happened... ;)

     

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    Brian, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 11:26pm

    No, those are still terrestrial diatoms

    That meteorite/panspermia/diatom bit has been debunked and then debunked again in the past two months. Let it die.

    The TLDR? - they're all mundane, Earth-native, freshwater diatoms - implying contamination. Except... not even contamination, because the rock in question isn't a meteorite.

    Not sure of linkspam policy, so I'll just point interested readers to 'Bad Astronomy' writer Phil Plait's relevant articles, the most recent of which is entitled "No, Life Has Still Not Been Found in a Meteorite". Both it and the January article linked therein subject the science to competent peer review (hint: it fails utterly), and the earlier January article does a good job of revealing Wickramasinghe's history of biased, conclusion-first 'science'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 5:30am

    Re: Panspermia

    "it explains nothing about how life formed or where is started."

    It is entirely possible that spontaneous reactions to environmental conditions led to life formation. That is, it most like occurred many places many times and spreads, mutates and combines elsewhere.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Re: Panspermia

    "why would finding fossels from other planets support the panspermia theory, that is that life started somewhere else and 'migrated' to earth."

    Because you can't have "fossil fuel" without fossils...remains of once-living beings, boy!

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re: Panspermia

    why would finding fossels from other planets support the panspermia theory, that is that life started somewhere else and 'migrated' to earth.

    Because panspermia theory does not attempt to explain where life came from. It only tries to explain where life *on this planet* came from.

    We know that meteor impacts on a planet can launch rock off that planet with escape velocity. We know the early solar system had a lot of large meteors/comets flying around. We're pretty sure that Mars had an environment suitable for life prior to Earth. If we find distinct evidence of microbial life on Mars, it would support the possibility that panspermia theory is correct.

    We know that very shortly after conditions were right on Earth for life, it was here. One of the reasons panspermia theory is around is because some think that this time period is too small. Panspermia theory offers an explanation that life could have easily formed elsewhere in the time required, and then ended up here.

    I personally don't think that time is an issue for life appearing here as soon as it did, but panspermia is an interesting idea that could explain something if time really is a problem. That is what science is - our attempts to explain things using evidence and observations.

    And no, god and religion have nothing to do with it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    Therefore:

    "because it ONLY HAD an environment suitable for life, IT DOES NOT NOW.. " and yes, probably for the very reasons you have explained.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Panspermia

    we are talking millions, or probably billions of years before the living beings that made 'fossil fuels' were even close to existing.

    remains of living beings, that started living on this planet possibly. It would be a good reason why we have not found fossil fuels or fossils on other plants too.

     

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    The Real Michael, Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Panspermia

    The problem is that it's all in the realm of speculation, not grounded in any hard scientific fact.

    Is it possible that there's life elsewhere in the universe? Certainly. We've located over 200 exoplanets already, although most are said to be gas giants where life is unlikely. If other stars have solar systems in place, the chances for extraterrestrial life would skyrocket. Question is, how do we locate and verify it when we cannot even take a clear picture of an exoplanet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Panspermia

    assuming panspermia is correct it still fails to explain how life at all came about, that is a much more important question than where is came about.

    finding fossils on mars would provide that life formed on mars at some time in history, it does not explain how it formed or if it was the source of life on earth.

    Even if it looks exactly like some life on earth, mean nothing because there appears to be a finite number of way to build life with the available elements.

    what you do not find on other planets is anything significantly different to that of earth, if there is water it is the same as our water, if there are rock they are the same as rocks on earth. So why would you think that given the same starting materials you would not end up with similar or the same 'type' of life.

    considering that life on earth is shown to have evolved from only one tree of life, and not from a forest of trees of life would indicate that if life did come from another place, it only occurred once and all life on earth is based on that. Or that, that life first started on earth, and as the materials and elements are the same on different planets (as is light, heat ect) that life no matter where it forms would most probably have a place on our earthly tree of life, and it appears from our observations that there is only one possible tree of life, that is the DNA based, carbon life forms we observe on earth.

    it appears no other groups of chemicals can replace the basic elements of DNA to form life.

    panspermia fails to address or answer any of those questions and is unable to prove or disprove the origin of life, or explain why or how, where or when life started.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    yes, mars being smaller than earth, inner molten core stopped turning and it's magnetic field collapsed, solar winds and runaway greenhouse effects, stripped the atmosphere and lowered the boiling temperature of liquid water to a point below atmospheric, so liquid ceased to exist, life as we know it requires liquid water.

    there is signs that mars had liquid water in the past, leading NASA to conclude 'the conditions for life existed'.

    the conditions of life exist, if liquid water exists.

    you can conclude water would also be required for life to start, earth has had liquid water on it for a very long time.

     

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