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We're all aliens... how humans began life in outer space - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Perhaps, perhaps not.

Sells newspapers though!

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 17:42:54 UTC | #597742

zengardener's Avatar Comment 2 by zengardener

Cool article. Misleading title. Par for the course.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 17:58:51 UTC | #597747

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 3 by Rich Wiltshir

Not going to set the world alight: the article doesn't tie in with it's title.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 18:22:17 UTC | #597753

Alexey's Avatar Comment 4 by Alexey

I'm curious how well accepted is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial origins of life (microbial life certainly) among the professional biologists. 10 % maybe? I know that the head of the paleontology institute in Moscow is among the advocates of extraterrestrial theory.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 18:24:13 UTC | #597755

The Plc's Avatar Comment 5 by The Plc

Interesting. But it's very possible that this mystery isn't one of cosmic significance. The universe is probably teeming with life, which would make origin of life on Earth a rather mundane event, of interest only to the intelligent apes on this cosmic speck of dust. Personally I think discovering the fundamental and ultimate laws of physics would be far more significant.

Incidentally, The Science Network uploaded their recording of the 'What is Life?' panel discussion featuring Venter, Krauss, the proprietor of the RDF himself of course, and others. I fully expected to see it up here but no, nothing so far...

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 18:33:05 UTC | #597758

AxePilot's Avatar Comment 6 by AxePilot

Come folks...we all know where life came from... The Creator .... Having said that can we now get an updated Tee from RDF Store: "We're All Aliens" with two red A's for All and Aliens, please?

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 18:39:11 UTC | #597760

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 7 by rod-the-farmer

Left unanswered is how did those complex molecules form in space.......I sense a regress starting.....

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 18:39:24 UTC | #597761

Sajanas's Avatar Comment 8 by Sajanas

It just seems a little unnecessarily complicated to suggest that life could evolve on another planet to a state of supreme toughness, survive a catastrophic ejection making impact, travel in the depths of space for thousands or millions of years and survive landing on earth just as it was getting nice, before earth itself developed life. Certainly extraterrestrial chemicals may have been important, but I think exogenesis is put on the pile of theories I'll believe when we find alien life with our same genetic code.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 18:57:12 UTC | #597765

Ode2Hitch's Avatar Comment 9 by Ode2Hitch

The title makes it seem that humans started elsewhere then set up camp on earth... now where have I heard this before.... OF COURSE!!!! DOUGLAS!!!!!! JOGGERS!!!!!

Cheap journalism relating to an otherwise interesting issue.

As always, if you want news about science, come here or go to other science sites. This will not only increase ones knowledge, but will will also allow one to avoid the recurring disappointment inexorably produced by mainstream journo science stories.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 19:33:24 UTC | #597776

HenkM's Avatar Comment 10 by HenkM

Comment 7 by rod-the-farmer :

Left unanswered is how did those complex molecules form in space.......I sense a regress starting.....

It need not have been complex molecules, right?

Perhaps the simplest of all will do?

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 19:47:56 UTC | #597785

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 11 by Vorlund

In higher eukaryotes, D-Aminolevulinic acid, the key precursor to porphyrins, is biosynthesized from glycine and succinyl-CoA.

Glycine was found in the wild 2 comet.

Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:37am EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The amino acid glycine, a fundamental building block of proteins, has been found in a comet for the first time, bolstering the theory that raw ingredients of life arrived on Earth from outer space, scientists said on Monday.

Microscopic traces of glycine were discovered in a sample of particles retrieved from the tail of comet Wild 2 by the NASA spacecraft Stardust deep in the solar system some 242 million miles (390 million km) from Earth, in January 2004.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 20:09:04 UTC | #597793

BigNoboDaddy's Avatar Comment 12 by BigNoboDaddy

"Extraterrestrial" is misnomer. The earth is a part of the universe and does not stand outside of it. The heavy elements including carbon was made in the stars of a young universe so the whole earth is made of so-called extraterrestrial matter. That life started in the cosmos is stating the obvious for those that have made the effort to understand the universe instead of believing in bronze-age myths.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 20:35:02 UTC | #597804

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 13 by Alan4discussion

This same article is being discussed on another thread @ New evidence for panspermia in the news

As I said there, it is not news, it is history. The organic chemicals arrived as part of Earth's formation, and/or in following meteor/comet impacts or on-going meteorite/dust fall at the present time. The Solar Solar System is full of organic molecules, especially in the outer planets, their moons and in comets . There is nothing directly linking this article to abiogenesis. It is hype!

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 20:51:34 UTC | #597811

ridelo's Avatar Comment 14 by ridelo

Wasn't there any ammonia formed in the Urey Miller experiment? Who needs meteorites? Sunshine, water and nitrogen suffice.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 22:16:57 UTC | #597846

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 15 by God fearing Atheist

From ammonia in meteorites to "We're all aliens... how humans began life in outer space". Brought to you by The Independent, a newspaper for fucktards, by fucktards.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 23:02:58 UTC | #597868

DELETED_ACCOUNT_1ST_AMENDEMENT_TRUMPS_ALL's Avatar Comment 16 by DELETED_ACCOUNT_1ST_AMENDEMENT_TRUMPS_ALL

Yeah, about that unfortunate title...I expected to read a defense of some Reptilian/Annunaki/Nephilim/Draconian/Pleiadian/Illuminati/Whatever UFO cult. Or even more horrifying and degenerate, Scientology.

Headline writers. (Sigh)

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 00:34:09 UTC | #597899

Robert Firth's Avatar Comment 17 by Robert Firth

"Tests have also shown that the nitrogen in the ammonia released by the meteorite is composed of unusual isotopes"

What unusual isotopes? There are exactly two stable isotopes of nitrogen, N-14 and N-15. Both are found in Nature right here on Earth. Perhaps the article meant to say that their relative frequency was different? Anyway, very sloppy reporting that 30 seconds' fact checking would have exposed.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 01:14:51 UTC | #597908

mmurray's Avatar Comment 18 by mmurray

Comment 17 by Robert Firth :

"Tests have also shown that the nitrogen in the ammonia released by the meteorite is composed of unusual isotopes"

What unusual isotopes? There are exactly two stable isotopes of nitrogen, N-14 and N-15. Both are found in Nature right here on Earth. Perhaps the article meant to say that their relative frequency was different? Anyway, very sloppy reporting that 30 seconds' fact checking would have exposed.

There is a comment in the original paper that the ammonia isotope ratio is not in the terrestrial range.

Michael

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 01:25:56 UTC | #597912

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 19 by Marc Country

Everything that is 'terrestrial' was, at one point, extra-terrestrial. That is to say, everything that has ever been on Earth, including Earth itself, 'came from outer space'. Naturally, this includes life itself, too.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 03:05:17 UTC | #597922

Robert Firth's Avatar Comment 20 by Robert Firth

Thank you M Murray - that's what I suspected. Unfortunately, the original paper is inaccessible to me, so I had to rely on the reporter.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 07:14:56 UTC | #597940

andersemil's Avatar Comment 21 by andersemil

Exactly. I don't give a rat's rear if it didn't start on earth; I wanna know the physical and chemical process that could produce replicating molecules. Knowing that it came from a meteorite doesn't do us much good, but knowing what kind of environment could produce it makes us able to guess where it all started and thus perhaps just how common it is.

Comment 19 by Marc Country :

Everything that is 'terrestrial' was, at one point, extra-terrestrial. That is to say, everything that has ever been on Earth, including Earth itself, 'came from outer space'. Naturally, this includes life itself, too.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 07:36:12 UTC | #597941

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 22 by Cook@Tahiti

If newspapers were only published when something genuinely newsworthy actually happened, there wouldn't be any more daily newspapers. Maybe weekly. And in science, you'd only need a monthly columnist at best.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 08:36:20 UTC | #597951

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 23 by DavidMcC

Comment 19 by Marc Country :

Everything that is 'terrestrial' was, at one point, extra-terrestrial. That is to say, everything that has ever been on Earth, including Earth itself, 'came from outer space'. Naturally, this includes life itself, too.

Strictly speaking, Marc, it is the atoms and/or molecules of life that had an extra-terrestial origin. The controversial aspect of some versions of pan-spermia is the claim that it was life itself that came to earth, rather than the material from which life formed.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 08:52:03 UTC | #597954

RealRiff's Avatar Comment 24 by RealRiff

This research appears to be based on and prolonging a false premise - that there is a fundamental difference between the material that formed the Earth and the material that formed the rest of the solar system, including the comets and meteorites they've chosen to study in this case. The origin of the material is the same, and to draw an arbitrary line at some point in the formation of the Earth and label anything arriving after that point "extra-terrestrial" is nonsense on a par with affording the Earth special status thanks to a beardy bloke in the sky having created it.

If there was nitrogen-emitting rock in meteorites, the question is why there was no nitrogen-emitting rock on Earth, and the answer is presumably that there was, but they could only get funding for looking at space rock, not boring old earthbound rock.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 10:41:10 UTC | #597988

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 25 by Reckless Monkey

It may be that life began or was triggered in space and I suppose it should be considered, but they've made amino acids with the contents of our early atmosphere, even by freezing those contents concentrates the soup that was our ocean giving amino acids. This sounds more like adding conveniently concentrated chunks of stuff. Maybe, long way to go but if you don't start looking you won't find it.

I see no reason for the cynicism of some in this forum other than the press over reaching. But even here, don't we want people to wonder? For me the joy of science is not the final knowledge so much as the questions that raises. If we could get people excited about different theories and engaged then surely that's a good thing. And if it turns out to be true isn't that just more evidence of how science works. Do we care that Newton pursued alchemy and other crackpot theories? For me that fact that he pursued this but didn't claim to have an answer makes him the more the scientist.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 12:11:31 UTC | #598019

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

Comment 21 by andersemil

Exactly. I don't give a rat's rear if it didn't start on earth; I wanna know the physical and chemical process that could produce replicating molecules.

For those who have not seen it, there is a short video here.

The Origin of Life Abiogenesis part 1

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 12:57:17 UTC | #598037

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 27 by DavidMcC

RealRiff, there is actually some significant difference in composition as you go further away from the sun, due partly to variation in the energy density in the sun's radiation. For example, most of the water (in the form of ice) is in the outer regions, beyond the asteroid belt, and all of the small, rocky planets are inwards from there. The comets move between the inner and outer reaches, and this is a reason for suspecting that it was comets that brought much of earth's water to it, although they were probably not the only source. The fact that some asteroids are rich in iridium, which is very rare indeed on earth is another indication, although Ir is not essential to life.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 14:17:38 UTC | #598058

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan4discussion

Comment 24 by RealRiff

As DavidMcC says there are differences, essentially that the inner rocky planets have had much of their atmospheres basted off and were well "cooked" in the early stages of the Solar System. Comets and other material falling on to the Earth later is a different mix of molecules and has been subject to different levels of radiation, but as you say the evolution of the planetary system from the early accretion disk, is a continuous process.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 17:08:49 UTC | #598112

reebus's Avatar Comment 29 by reebus

"We are all aliens until we get to know each other." Quote from Classic 70's sci-fi. When this kind of story occurs the universe becomes smaller but also more wonderful at the same time I think.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 04:34:21 UTC | #598236

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 30 by Marc Country

"Life itself"? Is that like, 'elan vital', or some 'essence', as distinct from "the atoms and/or molecules of life"?

The earth is made from space stuff, some of which would include the atoms/molecules of life, some of which include all those other atoms and molecules you find lying around. Sometimes, the conditions will be right for those materials to develop (into planets, or lifeforms) and sometimes they will not. But, it's all just a bunch of space stuff, always has been, always will be.

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 15:13:49 UTC | #598352