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Genetic Building Blocks Found In Meteorite

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the rock-garden-of-eden dept.

Space 165

FiReaNGeL writes to tell us scientists have confirmed that the components of genetic material could have originated in a place other than Earth. A recently published report explains how uracil and xanthine, two basic biological compounds, were found within a meteorite that landed in Australia. From Imperial College London: "They tested the meteorite material to determine whether the molecules came from the solar system or were a result of contamination when the meteorite landed on Earth. The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon."

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Wow. (0)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788781)

I always thought of the idea of life arriving on the planet, rather unlikely. It seems counter intuitive. But, I suppose, with quantum mechanics, general relativity, and the whole earth is not flat thing, then I guess given enough evidence anything could be true, regardless of its ridiculousness.

Re:Wow. (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788857)

IANAB (I am not a biologist), but I think that when scientists talk about "life coming from space" they mean "complex carbon compounds that could, given the circumstances, combine into self-replicating structures that would, some time later, become living organisms". In other words, the secret ingredient needed for life to appear on Earth.

But thinking "ZOMG there were living cells in the meteorite!" is just crossing the line.

Re:Wow. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788935)

Well, yeah thats what I meant. It would come as a surprise to me to learn that even the building blocks of life came here, rather than being home grown. And thats what this seems new evidence seems to support.

If i ever say,write or use any form of communication to use similar language like you used in your last sentence, please for the love of God kill me.

Re:Wow. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789297)

Well, yeah thats what I meant. It would come as a surprise to me to learn that even the building blocks of life came here, rather than being home grown. And thats what this seems new evidence seems to support.
There is no support for that idea at all. Nothing has eliminated the options that the building blocks of life formed here in isolation or that some of the building blocks of life formed here and were supplemented with meteorite material. In fact, I think it is highly likely that the building blocks formed here in isolation just due to the volume comparison problem. The early Earth after the ends of the bombardment phase was more than capable of forming carbohydrates, nucleobases, and amino acids, especially with free water and shitloads of carbon and nitrogen in a very electrically active atmosphere. It also had orders of magnitude more volume to perform these actions and didn't have to worry about atmospheric entry. Compared with the ideal conditions of the early Earth, it is pretty unreasonable to say that this evidence supports extraterrestrial formation of these critical chemicals. For every carbohydrate, nucleobase, or amino acid that survived entry to the atmosphere, there were probably billions formed naturally in Earth's chemical reactor.

Re:Wow. (4, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790137)

In fact, I think it is highly likely that the building blocks formed here in isolation just due to the volume comparison problem.


Yeah, I tend to think that evidence like this of organic compounds in meteorites is looked at more as proof that they are formed (and distributed) routinely throughout the universe, rather than trying to say that this was the mechanism by which they arose on Earth. This has pretty serious implications for things like the Drake Equation, or at least the likelihood of planets with habitable climates having access to the materials necessary for life to come about.

Re:Wow. (1)

nut (19435) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790417)

You're overstating the lack of support for the idea. It isn't necessary to eliminate evidence for local sources of such compounds to increase the support for extra-terrestrial sources.

This evidence shows that such compounds exist beyond earth. Furthermore, it shows that they can survive the journey to the surface of the earth within a meteorite. Meteorites fall to earth all the time.

Therefore there is a possibility that these, or similar, compounds could have come to earth from outer space and been involved in the creation of life.

It only makes it marginally more likely, but your statement that this evidence is absolutely irrelevant is incorrect.

Let's go over the line... (5, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789027)

But thinking "ZOMG there were living cells in the meteorite!" is just crossing the line.

Of course that would be silly. The living cells trapped inside the meteorite would have been baked into the material these researchers found. It's the light fluffy life forms on the exterior of the meteorite that would have been brushed off the surface of the meteorite on first contact with the atmosphere and drift gently down to the nutrient rich sea that covers most of our planet. There these hypothetic organisms would breed and diversify until they filled every sea, covered every continent and dwelled deep within the crust.

Eventually a form would evolve, such as a lichen or mold, that bred with colonies so small and potentially electrostatically charged by sunlight that they might rise to the highest reaches of the atmosphere - to be scooped up by passing meteors on their way to the unknown depths of space. Perhaps they might by a fluke of trajectory be thrown clear of the solar system altogether. Frozen in the cold of space these breeding colonies might last millions of years. The vast majority of these would wander 'twixt the stars eternally, finding no place they might rest or fall on a hostile environment and die. Given enough of them, though -- perhaps millions an hour for a billion years -- some few might land someplace they can start anew.

It's called panspermia [wikipedia.org]

Re:Let's go over the line... (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789331)

I don't think that it's necessarily a given that any life within a rock entering the atmosphere will be baked to a crisp, depending on the ablative properties of the body in question. Given that we've already seen evidence that fungus, mold spores, and bacteria can all survive prolonged exposure to vacuum, it would not be especially surprising if actual life came here... or, for that matter, has already left here. Numerous scenarios have been envisioned for Earth's past which involve a serious encounter with a major impactor.

Re:Let's go over the line... (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789573)

We were talking about a particular rock, not rocks in general. A ELE object would of course throw off objects of sufficient mass for embedded life to survive reentry. Our planet is known to have been hit by these objects several times while life was present. This happens considerably less frequently than the passing meteor scenario - perhaps frequently enough to be a vector within our solar system but not frequently enough for reliable interstellar diaspora.

Quit modding yourself up. It's creepy.

Re:Let's go over the line... (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789899)

I remember i have read an article about fungi spores that can live in space (vacuum, radiation etc) I couldn't find the article but this may fit as well: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/10/02/191229&tid=160 [slashdot.org]
And anyone know if the atmosphere was so dense back then that would fry an incoming object?

Atmospheric properties (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790139)

And anyone know if the atmosphere was so dense back then that would fry an incoming object?

The atmosphere of Venus is considerably more dense than Earth's. As is Saturn's, Jupiter's and Uranus'. The importance of the density of atmosphere is irrelevant. For every atmospheric density there is an insertion vector where a lifeform resident on a meteor could be brushed off and float gently down.

What's important is the hospitality to life and the flexibility of life. We know that life is ridiculously flexible. There are forms of life in volcanic vents on Earth that would find Venus a paradise beyond imagining. In the past most of the planets in our solar system have been hospitable to some form of life found on our planet. It's reasonable to expect that there is some form of life on Earth that might find the crushing pressures of a gas giant inviting. For all we know the Great Red Spots are actually a life form of some kind.

In short, "life finds a way." We can take it as a given that our solar system has been so thoroughly polluted by life that everywhere it could take root it did. It's an open question whether it first took root in our solar system on Earth or elsewhere. I'm for Mars, but that's just an opinion. We're infested with life and with this meteorite we have evidence we're not the only solar system to be so infested. It follows that life is as common elsewhere in our galaxy as it is here. That means that the panspermia theory is at least partly true -- in the one example that we know of it's possible that some form of life will cross the stars. In regards to life if it can be done, it will be done. Therefore all the planets in our galaxy that can support life similar to ours have life. This is a big discovery.

When we get to the planets around distant stars we will find life that we understand. Let's go!

Re:Wow. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23790231)

But "complex carbon compounds" would have formed naturally here on early earth anyway (this has been replicated in the lab by simulating those conditions). That part is inevitable.

The more interesting part is the emergence of circular chain reactions, self-replication and life.

Re:Wow. (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790271)

But thinking "ZOMG there were living cells in the meteorite!" is just crossing the line.

What line would that be?

The theory is called "panspermia" and many prominent physicists and astronomers believe it's a reasonable theory (Google for it, look on Wikipedia).

Re:Wow. (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789039)

Organic material coming here on comets and meteorites is perfectly plausible. But life coming from outside the solar system seems to be quite unlikely.

There was some paper released last year showing that gene degradation when exposed to cosmic rays happens at an astonishing rate. When compared to how long it would take a piece of rock to travel from even the nearest star, it just looks to be implausible at best. Not only that, it would assume that the life would be able to survive the impact and either be compatible, or adapt from the rock/ice quickly to the earth.

Even if panspermia was a viable idea, it would only say something about where life arose. It doesn't answer the question of how life arose. But if it arose here, then it would be easier to find the how. If life arose elsewhere, then we wouldn't know

Re:Wow. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789075)

Organic material coming here on comets and meteorites is perfectly plausible. But life coming from outside the solar system seems to be quite unlikely.
I once read about rocks in Antarctia which, when cut open to get a cross section, have a line about a centimetre under the surface which is how far bacteria have penetrated into the rock.

It could be that bacteria are commonly associated with rocks pretty much everywhere, and that new planets could be seeded by meteorites.

Re:Wow. (5, Interesting)

Pvt. Cthulhu (990218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789587)

Whole microbes surviving in an airless, nutrientless, radiation-saturated enviornment is not unprecedented. The Apollo 12 crew found scores of living streptococcus mitus doing just fine on the Surveyor probes on the moon, which had been there for three years. While its doubtful whole cells came here and populated the planet, it also seems unlikely that the Earth alone provided all the ingredients.

Re:Wow. (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789949)

Organic material coming here on comets and meteorites is perfectly plausible. But life coming from outside the solar system seems to be quite unlikely.

There was some paper released last year showing that gene degradation when exposed to cosmic rays happens at an astonishing rate. When compared to how long it would take a piece of rock to travel from even the nearest star, it just looks to be implausible at best. Not only that, it would assume that the life would be able to survive the impact and either be compatible, or adapt from the rock/ice quickly to the earth.

Even if panspermia was a viable idea, it would only say something about where life arose. It doesn't answer the question of how life arose. But if it arose here, then it would be easier to find the how. If life arose elsewhere, then we wouldn't know
I don't completely agree. Seeing that the nucleobases were found within the meteorite unaltered suggests that its (partly metallic) structure can successfully protect organic materials from degradation without the protective effect of an atmosphere. Either way, seeing how life has flourished in and around Chernobyl it can be only concluded that ionizing radiation is but good for you! Cheers and beers

Re:Wow. (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789255)

I really don't think the idea is any more ridiculous than the thought of humans introducing non-native species to a contenient.
Oceans, space, once you look past the material differences between the two they're really the same concept.

Why not? (4, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789455)

Actually, I'd argue that it's both rather expectable _and_ at the same time meaningless.

The basic nucleotides and aminoacids can be formed rather quickly even in a retort in the lab, given the right conditions (similar to those of primal Earth). But even that is somewhat misleading: really they just need a lot of energy. Carbon and nitrogen just tend to do that, and we're talking simple building blocks, not a whole ribosome.

What took an awfully long time is those actually becoming _life_. I.e., those assembling, by sheer chance, in a self-replicating configuration.

Really, there's nothing special about finding isolated aminoacids or nucleotides. They're not yet life, they're the Lego blocks that actual life is made of. Aminoacids are not a miracle by themselves, but in the fact that they can be assembled in proteins that can react with any chemical you wish. Or produce another chemical that reacts with it. Including assemble other proteins. Nucleotides are even more meaningless by themselves. They can form a RNA strand, which is what the first and simplest life used. But the RNA strand does nothing whatsoever by itself. It needs some proteins that (A) replicate it, and (B) translate it to other proteins, before it can count as life.

The "miracle" isn't when you have aminoacids and nucleotides. It's when you have at least some kind of RNA replicase and some kind of a ribosome.

So basically "ZOMG, we found a nucleotide on a meteorite" is simultaneously:

1. not that surprising, since really they form anywhere.

2. rather meaningless for life on Earth, in that we have plenty of proof that they formed withing minutes on Earth too, with the conditions back then. So a couple of those molecules maybe came on a meteorite too. Big deal, compared to the whole billions of tons of them forming right here.

3. rather unlikely as a source of life on Earth. Sooner or later those molecules break down. They don't last for ever. And we're not talking self-replicating life, but some building blocks which still needed to combine into a configuration that can be called "life", by sheer chance. That means lots and lots of them, and lots and lots of time. It's kinda absurd to assume that meteorites kept bringing billions of tons of them, for billions of years, until they finally recombined into some kind of ribosome.

4. it at best brings some extra insight into it all. If they're as easy to form as to even exist in meteorites, well, it just makes it easier to believe that we had a lot here too. In fact, maybe we had them earlier than we thought, as Earth itself formed out of dust which coalesced into meteorite, which coalesced into a planet. The last one captured was the one that ejected a chunk of Earth and created the Moon. So maybe we had some building blocks before Earth even formed. It also means we can expect almost any planet anywhere to have _some_ of the building blocks, and evolve life, if the conditions and timing are right.

But again, not an awful lot of insight that we didn't already have anyway.

Re:Why not? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790259)

It also means we can expect almost any planet anywhere to have _some_ of the building blocks, and evolve life, if the conditions and timing are right.

We already know that amino acids form naturally in early earth conditions - it's been replicated in the lab, so that is not news. The emergence of life is a whole other story and a couple of simple organic molecules on a meteorite does precisely ZERO to inform us of the how often that is likely to occur given the right conditions and enough time.

What does that mean? (1, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788789)

The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon.

What are they talking about? Heavy carbon? Is that just a non-technical way of referring to an isotope? No, I didn't RTFA.

Re:What does that mean? (5, Insightful)

gwythaint (35509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788807)

I think they mean the carbon 13 to carbon 12 ratio is not "earth normal".

Re:What does that mean? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788859)

which is pretty hefty evidence, but watch sceptics find a way to discard it along with the overwhelming mountain of evidence extra terrestrial life has come here.

Re:What does that mean? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788877)

which is pretty hefty evidence, but watch sceptics find a way to discard it along with the overwhelming mountain of evidence extra terrestrial life has come here.
What evidence?

Re:What does that mean? (1, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788961)

let's see. there's:

-the unidentified artificial objects found inside numerous people who claim to have been abducted, which are not only not rejected by the body, but are integrated into the nervous system (apparently powered by bio-electricity, emitting unidentified signals until disconnected). Material they consist of is unknown

-the subset of UFO related events which, though small, represent a considerable number, and are completely unexplainable.

-the fact that so called "greys" are represented similarly in sketches worldwide, including those made by people in areas so remote and undeveloped they had no feasible exposure to modern media or pop culture.

-the fact that modern ufo's show up in paintings from the renaissance, and earlier.

the list goes on and on.

Re:What does that mean? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789037)

let's see. there's:

-the unidentified artificial objects found inside numerous people who claim to have been abducted, which are not only not rejected by the body, but are integrated into the nervous system (apparently powered by bio-electricity, emitting unidentified signals until disconnected). Material they consist of is unknown

-the subset of UFO related events which, though small, represent a considerable number, and are completely unexplainable.

-the fact that so called "greys" are represented similarly in sketches worldwide, including those made by people in areas so remote and undeveloped they had no feasible exposure to modern media or pop culture.

-the fact that modern ufo's show up in paintings from the renaissance, and earlier.

the list goes on and on.
Setting aside the validity or otherwise of the evidence you quote, how does it constitute evidence for extra terrestrial life?

Even if the "greys" you describe exist, why do you think they are not native to Earth?

Re:What does that mean? (0)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789109)

Because if they had the technology to live on this planet hidden from us in viable populations to conduct a society more advanced than ours, then they would have the technology not to be detected in aircraft/spacecraft either.

If they didn't have the technology, there's no way a fundamentalist republican would allow that to stand when they can't even tolerate a human who likes another human of the same sex.

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789859)

I think you should get back on your meds

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789887)

I think you should go back to hiding under your republican rock you came out of.

~AC

Re:What does that mean? (1)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789891)

What you have is a lot of cooincidental material, not "evidence" . Plus you just made a pretty hefty assumption in your last comment. Assumptions are what make people skeptical in the first place. In trying to prove evidence for extra terrestrials, I'd stay away from that :)

Re:What does that mean? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790535)

Because if they had the technology to live on this planet hidden from us in viable populations to conduct a society more advanced than ours, then they would have the technology not to be detected in aircraft/spacecraft either.

Wait.... what? You're claiming that a race of aliens with the technology capable of travelling interstellar distances could not remain hidden on earth because their technology isn't good enough. Seriously?

Re:What does that mean? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789135)

I suggest very strongly you read Sagan's 'The Demon Haunted World'. This 'evidence' is easily explained without resorting to 'ET' intelligence.

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789177)

wikipedia says the book extends to independent confirmation of facts.

I'd call thousands of years of repeated patterns pointing back to the existence and interaction with E.T.I's independent confirmation.

and that was my point, it CANT be explained through other means because people have tried.

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23790385)

it CANT be explained through other means because people have tried.


If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

You can't use the fact something has not yet been explained as evidence that it is 'fact'. All you can prove prove from that data is that 'it has not yet been explained'.

There are plenty of things that were previously impossible which are no longer. Flight for example.

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789157)

let's see. there's:
-the unidentified artificial objects found inside numerous people who claim to have been abducted,...
-the subset of UFO related events which, though small...
-the fact that so called "greys"...
-the fact that modern ufo's show up in paintings...
Wait a minute--we're talking about the X-Files, right? You left out the super soldiers, although I think they covered up all the evidence in the end.

Re:What does that mean? (2, Insightful)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788967)

You don't mean skeptics here. They are the good guys and they should challenge the findings.

You mean fundamentalist nut jobs that ignore evidence and argue out of their nether regions

Re:What does that mean? (0)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789081)

I agree with you and have an appropriate respect for sicence, but when there are issues like bigfoot, where there are:

-massive tracks forensically analyzed and shown to be impossible to duplicate with a human's weight

-hairs recovered which don't match any current anthropoid species

-full minutes of 8 mm film which have also been forensically analyzed, proving they were not altered, and that a man in a suit would be unable to mimic the gait recorded on the creature.

I have a hard time respecting people who dismiss it. If they can dismiss that then why should I believe lions exist in africa. There are so many ways to fabricate it after all.

Why on earth should I convict someone and have them go to their death based on DNA or video if these people refuse to accept it under the same or more stringent analysis to identify a species?

Re:What does that mean? (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789611)


I have a hard time respecting people who dismiss it. If they can dismiss that then why should I believe lions exist in africa. There are so many ways to fabricate it after all.


You totally lost me at this statement..

Dismissing some evidence for bigfoot including one, let me repeat, one, mult-minute film of the creature is aparently the same as dismissing evidence for lions in Africa?

Are you stark raving mental?

Anyone can fly to Africa to see Lions. Anyone can go to the local Zoo and see lions. There is more than one video of lions.

They mean psuedo-skeptics (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789377)

To many people the term 'skeptic' has come to mean someone who disagrees, logic and training don't come into it. However skepticisim is an integral part of science and every scientist worth their salt practices skepticisim on their OWN ideas before using it to attack the ideas of others. The term the GP was looking for is 'psuedo-skeptics', ie: a person who fails to be skeptical of what they themselves 'know' and does not entertain criticisim. The worst kind of 'skeptic' is a denier, ie: someone who is willfully ignorant.

Personally I am skeptical that any individual fits neatly into one category althogh I do agree fundamentalist nut jobs are an 'edge case'.

Carl Sagan's book [wikipedia.org] on the subject is a great read and can speak for itself...

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grand children's time ... when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstitions and darkness."

OTOH, a skeptic might argue that Sagan's forboding is, and always has been, the status-quo.

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789319)

Not that it really matters. Everybody knows God put that evidence here to test us.

Re:What does that mean? (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788885)

Exactly. The popular writeup was terrible, but the actual paper explains that the ratio of C-13 to C-12 was 44.5% higher than earth-normal for the uracil and 37.7% higher for the xanthine.

Obama's cuts to NASA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789167)

It's safe to assume that paying for all of his programs will require Obama to "cut the fat" such as funding to NASA. Let's hope that we put a man on Mars before Bush's time is up :s

Re:Obama's cuts to NASA (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789341)

It's safe to assume that paying for all of his programs will require Obama to "cut the fat" such as funding to NASA.

How much do people get paid to do this stuff? And how do I get in? I want to be lobbying on behalf of the lesser of evils, though...

Re:What does that mean? (3, Informative)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788849)

Reading TA would not have helped... it is still a mystery. It can only mean an isotope. The funny thing is that this [nature.com] article in Nature refers to heavy carbon as well. Heavy carbon that occured on earth. So, TFA this slashdot story is talking about is very vague and raises more questions than it answers.

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23790499)

it is still a mystery. It can only mean an isotope.

Of course it means an isotope, duh.

The funny thing is that this [nature.com] article in Nature refers to heavy carbon as well.

This is not funny, the term "heavy [element]" means the "heavier isotopes of that specific element". (While the fuzzy term "heavy element" means elements of "high" atomic number.) "Heavy carbon" is, therefore, 13C or 14C.

FYI, that nature paper does NOT refer to heavy carbon, it refers to heavy carbon isotope signatures .

Heavy carbon that occured on earth.

Of course heavy carbon exists on earth. It's just the ratio of heavier to lighter isotopes that matter. The only bad thing is that TBA (the bad article) TBS (the bad summary) refers to fails to note that the ratio is what matters.

In regards to your sig... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788861)

All Americans suck because they don't know what an isotope is. And they're going to vote McCain to ban gay marriage and keep this sort of "pseudo-science" about life originating from space instead of from God out of the classroom. I mean, it's in the bible people. Why are you doing all of this "science" when we have the answers already?

Heaven forbid our kids learn what an isotope is... or any of that blasphemous Darwinism. Just believe in Jesus. Then everything will be a-ok.

Re:In regards to your sig... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788981)

I'm an American and I'm reasonably-sure that Jesus never existed.

Of course, I'm posting AC because I'm also reasonably-sure I will be modded-down for such belief.

Re:In regards to your sig... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789233)

But he historically did and many people say he still does. en.wikipedia/wiki/Jesus.

I'm just saying.

Re:In regards to your sig... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789713)

I'm the poster to whom you responded.

What evidence can you provide that Jesus existed?

Re:In regards to your sig... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789749)

Reliable contemporaneous accounts of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth are scant at best. If he did all the things attributed to him in the New Testament, you can bet that there'd be more mention of him in secular history of the time.

Granted, there could have been a person named Jesus who was a radical rabbi and was persecuted. Doesn't mean he was the son of a god or born of a virgin or other such nonsense.

Re:What does that mean? (2, Insightful)

Blue Shifted (1078715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788871)

What are they talking about? Heavy carbon? Is that just a non-technical way of referring to an isotope? No, I didn't RTFA.


i know i sound like a jerk, but what else do you think they would be talking about?

Re:What does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788913)

No, with "heavy carbon" they are not talking about isotopes, but about the kind of carbon that Americans are made of.

(Hey, you asked for it)

It's life Jim (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788797)

but not as we know it

They mean isotope, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788805)

I assume they mean a heavier isotope of carbon, but it's not too clear. Aren't ALL isotopes from space originally, anyhow? And which isotope of carbon are they talking about, anyhow?

Somehow, though, it makes me think about this story [wired.com] .

Re:They mean isotope, right? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789487)

I assume they mean a heavier isotope of carbon,

They have Bon Bon's and Frito's in space also, I see.
         

Re:They mean isotope, right? (1)

Thyrteen (1084963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789923)

Haha! Now we can claim prior art on their secret recipes!

I, for one, ... (0)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788837)

I, for one, welcome our new space overweights.

Re:I, for one, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788907)

Shut the fuck up with this "I, for one.." bullshit.

Newsflash!!!! The joke's old. As in, anyone with a UID of 100,000 or below has heard it a couple thousand times.

-I only post AC when I speak the truth, not for karma purposes.-

Re:I, for one, ... (0, Redundant)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789229)

in Korea, only old people make "I, for one..." jokes. In Soviet Russia, OTOH, "I for one..." jokes make old people.

Re:I, for one, ... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789345)

In Soviet Russia, OTOH, "I for one..." jokes make old people.

On Slashdot, they just make threads old.

Re:I, for one, ... (2, Funny)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788923)

I, for one, welcome our new space overweights.
I think they've already infiltrated us! On my drive home from work this evening, I passed a KFC....

I'm interested in what excuse.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788839)

will be brought up to dismiss this addition to the massive pile of evidence for extraterrestrial life?

Over the past half century there have been thousands of videos for which no sceptics or scientists can provide an explanation

there have been strange inorganic objects found connected to people's nervous systems which emit various signals until the nerves embedded in them are severed, which do not produce adverse reactions like the vast majority of intrusive bodies, and which are not made of substances known to current society.

there has been remarkable consistency in abduction reports and sketches of encountered beings, even from individuals in areas so disconnected and undeveloped they have no TV or contemporary literature.

there have been several incidences of logged data and video from satellites and astronauts like the "fast walker" incident.

There have even been heavily suppressed readings taken from various craft inbound to mars indicating large artificial structures inbound.. before their signals were lost.

there are even obvious UFO depictions in paintings going back to the 14th century. (so, what exactly is a glowing disk shaped object with red, blue, and orange lights in the sky if not a UFO?)

Re:I'm interested in what excuse.. (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788893)

The X files wasn't a documentary.

Re:I'm interested in what excuse.. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789237)

and the RIAA needs protection from these evil music thieves.

group think much?

Re:I'm interested in what excuse.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789239)

That's what *you* think.

Re:I'm interested in what excuse.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789329)

More specifically, that's what *they* want you to think.

Re:I'm interested in what excuse.. (5, Funny)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788911)

so, what exactly is a glowing disk shaped object with red, blue, and orange lights in the sky if not a UFO?
A disco ball.

Re:I'm interested in what excuse.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789869)

[citation needed]

how much in Carbon credits? (1, Funny)

madcat2c (1292296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788863)

How much would that bee in Al Gore Carbon Credits? like double right?

/looks in wallet

Re:how much in Carbon credits? (1)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788951)

Who produces the most carbon dioxide exhaling? Fat vs thin, man vs woman, active vs lazy? I wanna know if I have any personal production carbon credits available to sell.

Re:how much in Carbon credits? (1)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789021)

Talking, which incidentally produces more CO2 than not talking, is contributing to climate change. Therefore, talking should be taxed. Politicians and lawyers getting taxed when they talk would solve so many of the worlds' problems...

Re:how much in Carbon credits? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789927)

Politicians and lawyers getting taxed when they talk would solve so many of the worlds' problems...

      Of course a distinction will have to be drawn between actual, useful and constructive talking, and just spouting bullshit. Politicians especially produce a lot more of the latter, and should be charged an extra special rate.

Re:how much in Carbon credits? (0, Offtopic)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789355)

Fat americans who consume majority fast food.

this is the real reason why americans buy so many SUV's.
compacts just don't have the capacity to tow all that extra weight around, and it's not exactly viable to leave that extra 200 lbs of weight behind.

(I live in one of the fattest states in the union. I have to wear welding goggles to avoid being permanently damaged by the sight of honda sized blobs stuffed into those electric carts originally meant for actual paraplegics)

Uh-oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23788917)

Looks like the Flying Spaghetti Monster has kidney stones.

not a crash (5, Funny)

deep_creek (1001191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23788977)

a meteorite that landed in Australia...
landed you say? fascinating indeed.

Re:not a crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789001)

a meteorite that landed in Australia...

landed you say? fascinating indeed.
Yup. It landed, a hatch opened, and little gray men came out to look around. But according to the official story, it was a meteorite. And they'll keep repeating that until you believe it... :)

Re:not a crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23789043)

a meteorite that landed in Australia...

landed you say? fascinating indeed.
Yup. It landed, a hatch opened, and little gray men came out to look around. But according to the official story, it was a meteorite. And they'll keep repeating that until you believe it... :)
it landed. a hatch opened. a little gray man came out to look around, didn't notice the one guy in the bushes, "released" something from an unidentified opening onto the ground, then re-entered it and disappeared.

Re:not a crash (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789049)

a meteorite that landed in Australia... landed you say? fascinating indeed.
It was a heavy landing.

Re:not a crash (1, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789305)

It landed the same way a monster black poo ball landed in the toilet 2 hours ago, loud, fast, and violent, leaving its obvious evidence - brown flash-back water on my ass-cheeks.

Re:not a crash (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790107)

landed you say? fascinating indeed.


Apparently you're not familiar with the Space Shuttle's glide ratio... :)

Evolution from Space (1)

oblonski (1077335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789071)

was the title of a book by British astronomer Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe and when it made this same sort of claim it was laughed off as a crackpot theory.
Guess they're being proven to have been right all those years ago... imjussayinisall

Re:Evolution from Space (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789111)

was the title of a book by British astronomer Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe and when it made this same sort of claim it was laughed off as a crackpot theory.

Guess they're being proven to have been right all those years ago... imjussayinisall
The other day there was an article about the universe before the Big Bang and I thought that was heading towards Hoyle's Steady State theory.

Re:Evolution from Space (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789451)

[Evolution from Space] was the title of a book by British astronomer Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe and when it made this same sort of claim it was laughed off as a crackpot theory.

Fred Hoyle also adamantly believed in the steady-state model of the universe which was proven wrong by evidence of a beginning with Hubble's discovery of the universe's expansion. Hoyle went to his grave believing in the stead-state model of the universre. He believed that due to the fact that having a beginning would imply some evidence of a Creator. I have a feeling that his book would also contain some (a lot of?) bias if only to avoid any "need" to invoke a Creator in scientific theories. Anyone care to prove me wrong who has read it already?

Uh oh... (1)

finalnight (709885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789147)

Note to all superhero aspirants, please watch out for black symbiotes following you home.

Statistically more probable life started in Space (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789291)

Since we have not been able to spontaneously synthesis life from components after decades of research. This event seems highly improbable on the Earth (not impossible). However, in the huge solar system sized hydrocarbon Nebula found in Space, it's seems more probable that somewhere, sometime, a hydrocarbon molecule developed and once it was able to reproduce, it spread throughout the gas cloud. A passing comet would pick up and carry the molecule . The rest is history. Ultimately, I think it is statistically more likely that complex reproducing hydrocarbons formed in infinite space rather than here on a hostile volcanic earth.

Re:Statistically more probable life started in Spa (5, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789469)

the so called hostile temperatures on earth are nothing compared to the hostility of the environment in space.

massive radiation, shockwaves, coronal mass ejections, MASSIVE extremes of heat and cold, and very importantly, the tendency for water to remain in a vaporous or solid form rather than liquid because of the lack of pressure.

Not to say the first dna fragments, amino acids, or single celled life forms could not have come from space, but they had to develop on some body with enough gravity and atmospheric pressure to host some liquid water water.

This characteristic need for liquid water is too fundamental to have simply arisen after this life came to earth.

Re:Statistically more probable life started in Spa (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789475)

Since we have not been able to spontaneously synthesis life from components after decades of research. This event seems highly improbable on the Earth

A hundred jars in a lab for 30 years is hardly comparable to the entire surface of the planet for hundreds of millions of years. I'm not disputing panspermia here, but just pointing out that the lab tests are completely lacking in comparable scaling.
           

Re:Statistically more probable life started in Spa (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789665)

> we have not been able to spontaneously synthesis life from components ... seems highly improbable on the Earth
Not sure what "spontaneously" means, but man-made/synthetic life probably has been done [wired.com] already. If not, it'll be here soon.

The first phase of Venter's three-step process, which he published last year, involved transplanting and "booting up" the genome of one species of bacterium into another. The remaining step is to combine the first two steps, then insert the new synthetic genome into a standard bacterium. Scientists said they expect the announcement of man-made life this year. [from Wired, 1/24/08]

Re:Statistically more probable life started in Spa (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790161)

Inserting a new genome into a bacterium is a far cry from mixing up some chemicals then watching as life spontaneously generates.

Logical conclusion? (0, Troll)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789481)

"They tested the meteorite material to determine whether the molecules came from the solar system or were a result of contamination when the meteorite landed on Earth. The analysis shows that the nucleobases contain a heavy form of carbon which could only have been formed in space. Materials formed on Earth consist of a lighter variety of carbon."

Maybe so but it still doesn't prove evolution especially evolution being triggered by outer space chemical(s). These are just more assumptions about what could have happened but it doesn't prove that it did happen the way they wish it did. I'm sure there are many other logical conclusions that can be deduced from this finding (assuming no errors were done in the tests/calculations) that are likely in their own way. Which to believe? They seemed to have settled on the idea they want to be true but it's all still based on assumptions.

Re:Logical conclusion? (2, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789529)

they don't have to prove evolution.

overwhelming evidence has already been recorded on the micro and macro level.

carbon (1)

lazy genes (741633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789533)

Carbon is the atom of choice to 90% of all electrons polled. The double helix has the ability to glide thu the fabric of space-time with the least amount of decay. Carbon wraps itself around consciousness.PHFFFFTTTTT

Re:carbon (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789911)

Carbon is the atom of choice to 90% of all electrons polled.

      I'd suggest more chemistry classes. Fluorine is actually the most likely choice for all electrons - in fact, it's not even a choice if fluorine is around... you're GETTING it. Gimme my damned electron! :-)

A booger...of a booger...of a booger. (1, Interesting)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789837)

An admittedly crude statement I've made on occasion indicating we may someday be surprised to learn our entire Universe is someone else's Petri dish.

And if you considered the Universe as a biological system, it would make sense that genetic material could travel, to us, vast distances on a meteorite.

Life on other worlds could be remotely or closely related to life on Earth.

"Honey....your 9th x 10e47 cousin from Rigel is here! He brought the wives and kids. You know they don't like my cooking, so bring home some KFC."

If this holds up, I am dying to see how folks like my fundamentalist Christian sister deal with the fact we may be bacteria in the actual grand scheme of things.

Re:A booger...of a booger...of a booger. (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789903)

"Honey....your 9th x 10e47 cousin from Rigel is here! He brought the wives and kids. You know they don't like my cooking, so bring home some KFC"

Blegh, can you imagine the politics?

"Remember not to get Taco Bell because Rigellians worship a taco-shaped diety and it would be highly offensive to them... and do remember they have the technology to vaporize this continent with their wristwatches "

Ever the optimistic (1, Informative)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789885)

...scientists have confirmed that the components of genetic material could have originated in a place other than Earth.
Let me fix that.

...scientists have confirmed that the components of genetic material could have existed in a place other than Earth.

Obsession with outer space (4, Insightful)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789893)

I find it really, really disturbing that people labeled "scientist" continue to have a go at the outer space theories. Out of all PhD:s in science I have met and the topic has been brought up I have never met anyone who believed in actual life coming from outer space, or that extraterrestrial material in fact would have been needed on a primordial Earth in order to create life. That a US president was blatantly fooled into promoting that childish Mars rock theory from a decade ago still hurts my mind. Think Occam's Razor. Dig where you stand. Don't overdo it, son.

I Need Tungsten To Live ... Tungsten! (1)

Mad Martigan (166976) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789897)

From http://www.snpp.com/episodes/BABF03 [snpp.com]

-----

The Simpsons make a shopping excursion to ShÃp, the place to go for modern Swedish furniture and accessories. A green end table catches Marge's eye, and she's impressed that those crazy Swedish furniture designers could invent such a far-out concept. Homer tests a bean-bag chair -- and it immediately swallows him up. He joins Captain McAllister, who fell victim to the same chair.

Luckily, Homer rejoins his family in time to look at assemble-it-yourself wall units. A costumed character that looks like an Allen wrench with arms and legs walks up.

Allen: You put it together yourself. All you need is me -- Allen
        Wrench.
Homer: [giggles] He's named after what he is.
Bart: [knocking on the wrench] Cool costume.
Allen: [turns away from the rest of the family to face Bart, and
        begins talking in a robotic tone]
        It's not a costume. They found me inside a meteor.
Marge: Excuse me, where are your hamper lids?
Allen: [friendly] Hamper lids? Uh, third floor.
        [turns to Bart again]
        [robotic] Help, I need tungsten to live. [raises arms]
        Tungsten!
        [Bart flees]
-- "Eight Misbehavin'"

Maybe the matrix architect was right.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23789997)

we are a virus.

Are these simple molecules? (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23790123)

I wonder how simple molecules these would be treated as by a chemist. That's the big question to me. Are they so simple that it's quite likely they'll both have appeared on Earth and in space? Because, in that case, this isn't really as impressive as it may seem. Just because they're used in DNA/RNA doesn't imply they're complex alone.

Uracil: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uracil [wikipedia.org]
Xanthine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthine [wikipedia.org]

As an amateur, they don't look too complex to me, but hey, what do I know... :)
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