what is life It’s a vague concept with no single answer. Ask any philosopher, and he may quote Plato, and he may reply that it is the ability to sustain itself and reproduce, but that renders the sterile donkey inanimate. Ask any biologist and they’ll probably throw you a textbook definition of life. substances organized by genes– As diverse as paramecium and elephants.
Oliver TrapA chemistry professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, offers a different explanation. He states that life is a “self-sustaining reaction network” and that organisms are equipped with processes necessary for survival and adaptation. this is, Definition used by NASA when searching for extraterrestrial life. A clear understanding of what constitutes life and the conditions necessary to sustain it will help astronomers better understand what to look for when searching for life on other planets. .
Specifically, you can look for environments where essential ingredients have been collected. Given what happened in the early Earth, the prerequisites for the origin of life are materials for organic chemical reactions.new study published today scientific reportTrapp and his colleagues simulated how our planet received supplies for life-producing chemical reactions 4.4 billion years ago. They suggest that no special or lucky conditions were required. Instead, life on Earth arose from volcanic particles and iron-rich meteorites. They were essential building blocks for living organisms, such as amino acids, lipids, nucleosides, and sugars.
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“Understanding the origins of biology is one of the greatest unsolved scientific problems. has significant meaning in Henderson (Jim) Cleves, He was a chemistry professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and president of the International Origin of Life Society, but was not involved in the research.
Previous theories have suggested that Earth’s volcanoes Starting point. Lava formed the continents, and volcanic gases helped shape the oceans and atmosphere. Early Earth may have had another important boost in the form of chemical-rich meteors falling from the sky.
Trapp’s new research suggests that iron from falling asteroids helped convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic molecules such as hydrocarbons, aldehydes and alcohols. “Meteorites plunge into the dense atmosphere, heating up and ablating the nanoparticles,” he explains. Natural minerals found in volcanoes may have helped facilitate these chemical reactions.
To understand the interplay between space rocks and Earth’s eruptions, the authors simulated the conditions of this young planet in the laboratory. They purchased two iron-stone meteorite chunks, dissolved them in acid to create a solution, and soaked them in crushed samples of volcanic ash and minerals estimated to have existed billions of years ago. The result is a model of a meteorite hitting a volcanic island. The researchers also simulated early Earth atmospheric conditions by mixing carbon dioxide gas with hydrogen gas or water under a high-pressure, high-temperature system.
[Related: A new finding raises an old question: Where and when did life begin?]
Observing the reactions in this pressurized model, the research team noticed increased production of aldehydes, formaldehyde, alcohols, hydrocarbons and acetaldehyde. These organic compounds are used in further chemical reactions to make amino acids, lipids, DNA and RNA molecules. “Even at low temperatures, the particles were highly reactive and very robust,” says Trapp. The authors suggest that as the Earth’s atmosphere cooled and became more reactive, it probably facilitated the rate at which iron converts carbon dioxide into oxygen-containing organic compounds.
“It is very interesting to demonstrate how micrometeorites contributed to prebiotic organic synthesis during their fall,” Cleves notes. He says the study provides enough evidence to support this theory of how life first appeared, but that the simulation depends on the composition of the early atmosphere. I am warning you. It’s unclear whether such conditions exist exactly as the lab simulated, he says.
Trapp says the discovery is the beginning of a clearer picture of what life is made of. The conditions in which organisms can survive may not be unique to Earth, as long as the right substances are present. This could help space explorers decide whether a planet is worth exploring. For example, inactive volcanoes include Jupiter’s moon Io and Europa—A Promising Candidate for Extraterrestrial Life This is because there is an ocean of liquid water beneath the surface of the ice.
Alternatively, these simulations may exclude otherwise promising worlds. “If the planet were to cool so rapidly that it could no longer convert carbon dioxide to organic compounds, this process would come to a complete halt and essentially lead to the death of life.” Even if you happen to stumble upon a planet with optimal conditions, actually finding aliens is another matter altogether.