View Full Version : Sugar in space provides clue to origin of life

Cho-sun Wun
2004-Sep-22, 08:17 PM

2004-Sep-22, 09:09 PM
And people laughed when I talked about an asteroid made of cotten candy :)

Tim Thompson
2004-Sep-23, 01:20 AM
As of August, 2004, there are now 125 molecules (http://www.cv.nrao.edu/~awootten/allmols.html) in the interstellar medium, and around comets. They include various forms of methanol, ethanol, acetelyne, formaldehyde, all kinds of organic & inorganic junk. Interstellar Chemistry (http://rsc.anu.edu.au/~bettens/ISChem/lectures.html) is a wide ranging & very interesting topic.

2004-Sep-23, 03:56 AM
i'll never laugh at you again anton :blink:

2004-Sep-23, 04:51 AM
I wish my research mentor when I was in high school could see how immensely true his prediction of interstellar organic material has been, whether by synthesis from the materials of the Big Bang, or by some other processes. In the almost 40 years since that time, most of his ideas on what happens at the threshold of life emerging and its evolution have been borne out.

The presence of a widening range of carbon-based molecules in interstellar space is why the search for C-based life forms throughout the universe is justified. We are likely to be made of the same stuff.

2004-Sep-23, 02:26 PM
Panspermia may not be too farfetched after all.

2004-Sep-23, 04:37 PM
Many scientists never thought it was, especially in many of the details that are overlooked by those who dismissed the concept. When an updated model was presented at the AGU meeting a few years ago, we knew something special had been laid out.

Some of the details, such as the meteorite magnetofossils, may be refuted, but there is an elegance to the idea when the collection of recent papers is set out and the picture put together from the pieces. Life is not so much about "habitability" or Drake's Equation, but gradients. The stuff is out there and when they combine in the right regime, the next step toward the creation of life is reached. Nothing more may happen. I think it's more about stability that habitability, and we now see that sugars can be stable in an extreme environment. Other complex prebiotic organic molecules may also.

The idea was instilled in me as a kid almost 40 years ago by Joshua Lederberg, and his idea of exobiology has been unfolding nicely, if not too slowly.