Where Did Life Evolve?
First, here's a set of New Scientist articles on astrobiology. (Warning: they often give you only the first two sentences of many of these stories. Now, for specific topics,
In the atmosphere
In Interstellar Space.
Biochemistry on comets and larger bodies
Experiments suggesting that PAH molecules could form fairly easily in space.
Complex organic compounds brought to Earth inside buckyballs in comets or meteorites. Article from Science News, March 25, 2000.
Organic residues in ices in space are suggested. Press release, 2001.
Building life from star-stuff. Astrobiology magazine, September 2005.
In 1999, Dr. David Stevenson of Caltech suggested that life may exist on asteroids or planets floating in interstellar space, in environments that we would normally consider too cold for life. Here is an
article from the New York Times, July 6, 1999. Note that this is an idea, and that not only is there no evidence in its favor, but that it will be a long time before any can be gathered.
Web site for "Astrochemistry" at NASA Ames Research Laboratory
On some other planet? and panspermia.
Why go through the torture of trying to have life evolve on some other planet, far less suited to the process than Earth, when Earth is here, and WE KNOW it had hospitable conditions on its surface? Let's stick to the simple and obvious before we resort to the complex and improbable!
Life in the clouds of Venus? BBC News OnLine, May 25, 2004. Once again, this one is astrobiology, and once again, it is magnificent and arrogant speculation based on no data at all. Completely worthless scientifically, but a wonderful vehicle for extracting more taxpayer dollars out of NASA.
Panspermia on the Web
SARS came from outer space BBC News OnLine, 23 May, 2003
Panspermia again. BBC News OnLine, December 10, 2003. And as usual, theory and wishful thinking, no evidence.
Feature article in the November 2005 issue of Scientific American. And, I'm sorry to say: as usual, theory and wishful thinking, no evidence.
NEW evidence suggests that life began in cool rather than hot environments. Well, let's be careful and precise: the evidence suggests that the last common ancestor of all living things lived in cool rather than hot environments.
In Fresh Water? Did life begin in FRESH water?
Article by Matt Kaplan, from New Scientist, May 2002. A simple experiment and a surprising result that looks strong. Won't that be interesting, especially for the people who have staked their reputations on deep oceanic hot vents? Remember that it takes a particular planetary (and regional) climate to have long-lasting freshwater pools. And almost by definition, freshwater pools don't connect with one another.
The Deep Sea
Last updated December 4, 2006.
Links last checked December 4, 2006.
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