This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← New Drake Equation To Quantify Habitability?

squinky's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by squinky

I love learning about life's origins (who doesn't£) but there are two important considerations that render this whole Drake equation business mere speculation.
1) No one knows the conditions under which the first replicators formed (hot, cold, high salt, within wet rock, on ice, etc) and thus how "common" the most critical niche is. Said another way, Europa or Mars or other planets and moons may be able to sustain life but they may have never been equipped to allow spontaneous evolution of life in the first place which is why they would be sterile. Panspermia simply kicks the can down the road and appears highly implausible at interstellar distances.
2) The transition from replicators to cells is a massive one requiring access to lots of organic molecules (starting materials) which are thought to arrive on comets. Any theories about life's origins must include organic chemistry. There is a lot more to it than the amino acids found on the interstellar bodies.

Tue, 22 Sep 2009 15:40:00 UTC | #399870