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← New Drake Equation To Quantify Habitability?

squinky's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by squinky

mmurray has a point about the probability of abiogenesis though the more we learn about how common Earthlike planets are and how common organic chemicals are in space, I suspect the probabilites may not be that bad. I disagree with point 2: if life did originate on Earth and get transferred to Earth, the probability of abiogenesis has not changed, it just moved starting points.

There are two hard problems of abiogenesis: the origin of sustainable replicators (chemistry) and the transition from replicators to prokaryotic cells (life). We don't yet understand the chemistry but I think one day we will. Life from chemical soup is even more difficult.

Goldy, you wrote "Did I not read that all the components needed for life as we know it are found in bodies such as comets£"
You read wrong. There are many amino acids found on interstellar bodies (eg. comets) and we have a good idea of how nucleic acids are built but I've seen no theories on how to make the sugar part of DNA or RNA. It's a huge open question.

*Edit* For those of you interested in this subject, below is the state of the art. It's heavy on chemistry but naturally, that's where it all began:
http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2008/April/08040801.asp
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7244/full/459171a.html

Wed, 23 Sep 2009 13:52:00 UTC | #400177