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Organic Matter Found In Canadian Meteorite

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the seeding-gaia dept.

Space 226

eldavojohn writes "From what sounds like the opening of an X-Files episode, Canadian scientists have reportedly found in a meteorite organic matter older than the sun at Tagish Lake in Canada. From the article: '"We mean that the material in the meteorite has been processed the least since it was formed. The material we see today is arguably the most representative of the material that first went into making up the solar system." The meteorite likely formed in the outer reaches of the asteroid belt, but the organic material it contains probably had a far more distant origin. The globules could have originated in the Kuiper Belt group of icy planetary remnants orbiting beyond Neptune. Or they could have been created even farther afield. The globules appear to be similar to the kinds of icy grains found in molecular clouds — the vast, low-density regions where stars collapse and form and new solar systems are born.' The article implies that life could potentially survive in these meteorites and maybe even travel through space — supporting the theory that life may have arrived on earth and evolved from that point on."

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They're here... (4, Funny)

baffled (1034554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090802)

No, apparently we're here.

Re:They're here... (0, Flamebait)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090932)

And the creationists will put it down to giant space whale poo!

Re:They're here... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091438)

Well, my bible does say, "And on the fifth day He created the giant space whales, a great space coaster, and all manner of space beast." Of course, He refers to the FSM.

Our new overlords (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17090824)

I for one welcome our new organic material evolved overlords. And by overlords, I mean us.

Re:Our new overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091538)

This post should be modded as flamebait, simply as everyone is fucking sick of hearing it.

Re:Our new overlords (1)

LiquidEdge (774076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091700)

I have yet to get tired of it. Maybe later.

Re:Our new overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17092160)

...And by overlords, I mean us.

By us - you mean US and A? I like...


.... NOT!!!

Extra-solar life? (1)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090844)

Since the organic matter is older than the sun, this means that:

1. Either there is extra-solar life,

or 2. Stars can create organic material.

But how would the ordinary life-forms that we know of survive deep space?

Organic matter != life... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090872)

it's just carbon compounds.

Re:Organic matter != life... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17090892)

Your mom's just carbon compounds.

Re:Organic matter != life... (3, Informative)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090910)

My life sci 101 class teached me that organic compounds also usually have hydrogen. Apparently, more than half of all known compounds are organic, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_compound [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Organical matter = lifes (5, Funny)

The name is Dave. Ja (845139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091550)

WRONG:
My life sci 101 class teached me that ...

CORRECT:
My life sci 101 class learned me that ...

Let's get it right, people.

--
Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
But you won't let those robots defeat me

Re:Organical matter = lifes (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091628)

Someone mod down the above moron, please.

CORRECT:
My life sci 101 class taught me that ...


Unless of course we're having some stupid competition for the lamest English possible, in which case I submit the following:

My life sci 101 class educatified me that ...

Re:Organical matter = lifes (2)

The name is Dave. Ja (845139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091784)

*ding*
We have a winner!

Even though I am deeply hurt by your insulting tone, I will concede that you are at least open to the possibility of humour. Other hints might be the use of "organical" and "lifes" in the subject line.

I haven't heard "educatify me" before, but I maybe you can learn me about it.

Cheers!

--
Dave - putting the 'pro' in procrastinate

Re:Organic matter != life... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091944)

My life sci 101 class teached me

Unlike your Eng 101 class, which clearly did not.

Re:Organic matter != life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091222)

Is it possible the meteorite could have had the carbon compounds introduced into it after coming through the atmosphere? Maybe the age they established has outrulled that.

Re:Organic matter != life... (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091432)

Is it possible the meteorite could have had the carbon compounds introduced into it after coming through the atmosphere? Maybe the age they established has outrulled that.
Most of the meteorite's material is about the same age as our solar system--about 4.5 billion years--and was likely formed at the same time (tour a virtual solar system). But the microscopic organic globules that make up about one-tenth of one percent of the object appear to be far older. In a study appearing in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science, Messenger and colleagues report that isotopic anomalies in the globules suggest that they formed in very cold conditions--near absolute zero.

Yes, the article does say that. And my own observation: A flaming object re-entering the atmosphere is [sarcasm]usually[/sarcasm] a lot hotter, if I recall correctly, than near absolute zero. :-/

great balls of fire (3, Interesting)

phyruxus (72649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091560)

iirc, only the outermost few centimeters of any incoming meteor are ever heated. If you come upon a just-crashed meteorite that is broken open, it will be cold on the inside, and the outside will be cool to the touch in (again iirc) minutes.

Re:Organic matter != life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091912)

Yea, "older than the sun" sort of takes care of that hypothosis.

Rules of inference:

Sun > Earth
Orangic Compound > Sun
----------------------
Organic Compound > Earth

Of course it's not completely impossible that earth could have already had organic compound that predated it and the sun here, and that this meteorite happened to hit this planet in just the right place so that it would come in contact with them and become contaminated.

That still doesn't impact the significance of this find though. What is important is that this Organic Compound is older than our Sun and Solar System. I don't believe a substance that old has ever been found before.

Of course it would be interesting to know which organic compound was found to be that old.

Re:Organic matter != life... (2, Interesting)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091258)

We are stardust, we are golden.

Re:Organic matter != life... (4, Informative)

DrMindWarp (663427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092398)

More correctly, organic molecules are not necessarily 'organic matter'. The report does not say it is 'organic matter' - some idiot in the reporting chain just doesn't know the difference. This is one reason why Slashdot should cite the original article rather than second or third hand rubbish.

Re:Extra-solar life? (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091206)

Life is found most everywhere that it can reach. The only reason we have not found life in space yet is because gravity does a good job of keeping life on the planet and out of space. If there were a place on earth where life could encouter vacuum, it would be a very good bet that life would evolve to cope with it. Trees split water and create sugar using sunlight, animals create water and eat sugar. If you can conceive of a lifeform that can do both of these things, vacuum is a perfectly acceptable environment. In fact there are quite a few "anaerobic" microbes that prefer to not be around oxygen - if they could evolve to handle lower pressures they could make a good candidate for interstellar life travel.

Re:Extra-solar life? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091484)

if they could evolve to handle lower pressures they could make a good candidate for interstellar life travel.

Radiation may get them though...?

Re:Extra-solar life? (4, Informative)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091872)

Evolving to handle high levels of radiation doesn't seem to be a problem for number of of species of bacteria.
http://www.google.com/search?q=radiation+extremoph ile&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls =org.mozilla:en-US:official [google.com]

Re:Extra-solar life? (1)

Veilrap (875588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092020)

Nor does it both cockroaches

Re:Extra-solar life? (3, Interesting)

edbarbar (234498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091546)

I don't believe gravity is a huge impediment to life moving around:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox [wikipedia.org] .

Think about how far humankind will advance in 50 years, and whether we would be able to make a micro-replicator that we could send to other stars.

Re:Extra-solar life? (3, Insightful)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092464)

Actually, finding life is very difficult because the necessary conditions for the formation of a single celled organism only exist with very low possibilities.

Keep in mind that we have never manufactured a single living cell with functional DNA in a lab even with conditions entirely under our human control. Pasteur's Law still holds today. If we can't use thousands of years of engineering, including at least 2 decades of advanced bio-medical technology, to manufacture a single funcional cell from non-organic material, do you really expect it to form arbitrarily in space all the time?

We are the product of an extremely unlikely physical/chemical event, and we may very well be alone.

Re:Extra-solar life? (4, Insightful)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091658)

There are many examples of life that can survive in the most extreme of places.

Tbere is bacteria that lives quite happily on plutonium fuel rods inside nuclear reactors. The radiation doesn't bother them.

Thnere is bacteria that can synthesis sugars vital for life without photosynthesis from compounds which are lethal to other forms of life. Examples of this have been found at deep sea hot vents. There is even bacteria which lives off methane. Also many different kinds of bacteria and viruses (the lowest known form of life) which can place themselves into a state of suspended animation for thousands and even theoretically millions of year.

Thus, life has many ways to survive in deep space.

OMGWTFLOLBBQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17090890)

IT'S THE BLOB!

Re:OMGWTFLOLBBQ (1)

MrHali (985004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091606)

triber?

More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090918)

It actually sounds much more like Dan (Da Vinci Code) Brown's bad novel, "Deception Point."

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (5, Funny)

freefrag (728150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091068)

Dan (Da Vinci Code) Brown's bad novel
"Bad" implies that he has written good novels.

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (1, Insightful)

bluephone (200451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091324)

"The Da Vinci Code" wasn't bad, I liked it. I just thought that the hype was entirely overblown. It was a good yarn, just not worthy of all the hullabaloo. But, you write a novel about a major religion's central deity, and you're bound to stir up some publicity when people whine. I haven't read the rest of his books, however, and none really compel me to do so.

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091876)

Um, no it doesn't.

Hoyle's "The Black Cloud" is key novel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091078)

It is MUCH closer to the science of Fred Hoyle's great novel "The Black Cloud" [Harper & Row, 1964; Science Fiction Book Club; Signet]. Life evolved in Giant Molecular Clouds, became intelligent, one comes to our Solar System, blocks sunlight, causing predecessor to concept of nuclear winter; society restructured in face of climate change. Great, prescient novel by radical astronomer.

[Sir] Fred Hoyle, famous British astronomer, leading sceptic of (and namer of) the "Big Bang" cosomology and leader of the alternative "Steady State Hypothesis." With Wickramasinghe, originated the theory that bacteria and viruses come from outer space ("panspermia").

Novels by him and his son exist; now solo novels by his son. For more, see: Science Fiction Writers with last names starting "Ho" [magicdragon.com]

Professor Jonathan Vos Post

Re:Hoyle's "The Black Cloud" is key novel (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091848)

personally, having read the black cloud. This seems more Evolution http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251075/ [imdb.com]

Plot Outline: A firefighting cadet, two college professors, and a geeky-but-sexy government scientist work against an alien organism that has been rapidly evolving ever since its arrival on Earth inside a meteor.

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (2)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091138)

It actually sounds much more like Dan (Da Vinci Code) Brown's bad novel, "Deception Point."
He has good novels?

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (5, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091664)

He has good novels?

LOL. True story:

Recently, I was trying to chat up a very attractive girl. I mentioned in our harried conversation (she was at work) that I enjoyed reading but hadn't been to the bookstore in ages, blah blah. She told me that she, too, loved to read, and promised to bring in some of her favourites for me. Great, I thought! This could be the start of something interesting.

A few days later I stop in to see her and she smiles and points to a small bag 'o books in the corner. How sweet, right? Well, inside the bag were 4 were Dan Brown novels. Cervantes I wasn't expecting, but Dan Brown? I tried reading one of them (maybe I was wrong about him), but the absence of any writing talent in combination with an absurd plot reminded so much of high school that all I could was groan and put the book back in the bag with the others.

Haven't been back to see her since. It's been a month, but I wonder whether that's not long enough.

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (0, Troll)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092018)

Dissing girls who like mystery novels, is not cool.

This being Slashdot, dissing girls is not cool, period ;-)

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17092026)

Where did she work again? O:-)

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (4, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092096)

Cervantes I wasn't expecting

Nobody expects the Spanish Author!

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (1)

jbofdeath (982799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092132)

Don't lie. You know she was not attractive.

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17092234)

To lie by omission is not lying.

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (5, Insightful)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092360)

Free books for you? That was really sweet of her.

Perhaps you should have judged her by the act of giving rather than the gift. Rather than being condescending and judgmental (way to make her feel good, champ), you could have scored points and broadened her horizons by thinking about what she gave you and suggesting some other books she might have liked. Sounds like she likes shorter, punchier thrillers.

I'd have given her Gaston Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera", the collected short stories and cartoons of James Thurber, and maybe something short by literary like Ondatjee's "Running in the Family". How on earth can you know she won't like what you like unless you let her read it?

I know that it's 'hip' on Slashdot to bash popular (0)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091296)

things, but Dan Brown is actually a good author. I guess the new Slashdot prefers Jerry Falwell.

Re:I know that it's 'hip' on Slashdot to bash popu (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091452)

Well Jerry does come up with a lot of good fiction.

Re:More like "Deception Point" than the X-Files (1)

overlordmead (879368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091376)

Is that the one where the hero, Dan Brown or what ever his "intrepid author" name is this time, saves the world>

Digital Fortress - especially bad (1)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091516)

Just a warning, Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" is especially BAD.
I found Da Vinci tolerable because I don't know anything about the christian church but since Digital Fortress is about computers (which I and Slashdotters know about) it was excruciating.
Set in modern times the description of the big computer make it sound more like a steam engine!
Don't buy this book.

Re:Digital Fortress - especially bad (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091960)

I agree heartily. Digital Fortress drove me nuts. I have to say, of the 3 Dan Brown books I've read, Angels and Demons was the best; I enjoyed it much more than Da Vinci Code.

Canadians! (5, Funny)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090926)

I knew it! Canadians are from outerspace!

Re:Canadians! (1)

ppc_digger (961188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091126)

I knew it! Canadians are from outerspace!

They have to be. Did you ever see a Human with a bouncing head?

Re:Canadians! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091510)

Yes. A Canadian.

Re:Canadians! (5, Funny)

Superpants (930409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092014)

That is right, now bow before us and pay respects at the church of Tim Hortons. There you can partake in the holy consumption of maple-glazed doughnuts and watch the revered sport of hockey while drinking vast quantities of beer.

Since it is Sunday, a toque is mandatory for all. Those failing to cover ones head with the divine knit-cap will be punished by means of harsh words.
That is all.

Re:Canadians! (5, Funny)

iceborer (684929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092252)

Canadians are from outerspace!

I believe that you mean oater space.

I've seen this before. (4, Funny)

lupine_stalker (1000459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090946)

I've seen this movie... the organisms evolve... then get sprayed with napalm while Canada gets a dose of Head and Shoulders... or was it the other way round?

Summary misleading... (5, Informative)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090954)

From the article text :

The structures are invisible to the naked eye and resemble minute hollow balls with carbon-rich shells. A chunk of meteorite no larger than a grape could contain a billion of the tiny globules.

Theoretically, their hollow-ball shape could have presented a homey environment of concentrated organic matter where early cellular life could develop.

Such theories boast little evidence but raise many intriguing questions.


So from what I read they structures found COULD assist organic life, but are not actual evidence of them.

Re:Summary misleading... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091102)

Summary misleading...
How is the summary misleading? There's only two extra sentences aside from the article exerpt and they're not even really related to the article. I swear sometimes people just bitch about the summary being misleading so they get modded up ... and it works apparently!

Re:Summary misleading... (5, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091248)

So from what I read they structures found COULD assist organic life, but are not actual evidence of them.

That's one point of view.

There's a common myth that evidence speaks for itself. It doesn't. It just sits there on the lab table, incapable of speaking. Evidence also neither supports nor refutes any theory, these also being things evidence is incapable of doing unless the evidence is itself sentient. You're anthropomorphizing the evidence when you claim it supports or refutes a theory.

Now, various interpretations of the evidence can be used by scientists to support or refute theories. Insofar as some scientists interpret this evidence in such a way that it allows them to argue for ET-assisted biogenesis, it is evidence for that. Of course, some scientists will interpret it differently and then it won't be evidence for that.

All this is perfectly fine. Just don't make the mistake the quoted poster made, where you think there's a fact of the matter about whether this actually is or isn't evidence for one theory or another. Science doesn't work that way, that's just perpetuating a myth.

Organic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091618)

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. ;>

An organic compound is any member of a large class of chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon and hydrogen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_compound [wikipedia.org]

Wow, Life! (0, Flamebait)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090958)

Life found in Canada! Wow!

Re:Wow, Life! (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091612)

Organic matter isn't necessarily life...

Keep in mind... (5, Informative)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17090968)

Keep in mind that organic does NOT = life, just a precursor to life. Organic molecules/matter are generally just molecules containing carbon and hydrogen making a chainlike skeleton of atoms, with oxygen and/or nitrogen depending on if it is a protein. (Source [biology-online.org] ). This DOES back up the hypothesis that organic molecules can form just as well outside of early earth, as in. It'll be interesting to hear just what the molecules were, but I doubt this will spawn any new theories about the extra-solar genesis of life on earth. It doesn't take special space-dust to provide organic compounds in the early earth - just the atoms from the life cycle of stars spreading heavier elements.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Keep in mind... (2, Interesting)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091270)

And heck, there's not any definitive proof that I know of that organisms have to be primarily carbon-based. Sure, it makes the most sense given the properties of the carbon atom, but it would be theoretically possible to have an organism based on something else.

Re:Keep in mind... (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091708)

Also carbon was very common in the early formation of the universe according to most big bang models. So carbon based lifeforms, while only one possibility, are probably the most likely.

Re:Keep in mind... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091852)

The Big Bang didn't form any appreciable amounts of carbon. Carbon is formed in stars. Stars form more carbon than silicon (which is the element most similar to carbon and the most obvious potential alternative structural basis for life), which is a reason to think carbon based life would be more common. We really can't make any serious judgements about likelihoods at this point as we know very little about extrasolar planets and the conditions for life to arise.

Ancient astronouts (2, Funny)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091004)

"What's really striking about this is that these globules clearly could not possibly have formed where [the meteorite] itself formed," Messenger said.

Does that mean the meteorite pulverized some ancient astronouts in a far away galaxy?


THAT might be the reason we haven't gotten contact yet with them; they would've cancelled their space project after such a PR-disaster...

Waaait a second... (4, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091016)

Does this mean we're all Canadians!!!?

NOOOOOOOO

Re:Waaait a second... (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091134)

You make it sound like it's a bad thing!

Bow down to your Canadiam single celled organism overlords!

Disclaimer: I am Canadian.

Re:Waaait a second... (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091198)

I swear I clicked preview, but I guess Canadiam works too. I might have something here..

Re:Waaait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091464)

why do I feel thirsty all of a sudden?

Re:Waaait a second... (5, Funny)

Snosty (210966) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091274)

Nice try, you're not blaming us for George W.

paging captain obvious? (1, Insightful)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091022)

Earth didnt just appear out of nothingness... it had to get its organic compound from somewhere!

Hence "nothing is created, nothing is lost, all is transformed".

Still, it's pretty cool to have a piece of hard evidence to back up an obvious explanation.

Re:paging captain obvious? (2, Insightful)

Kermit870 (889647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091468)

Agreed. But the organic compound has to come from *somewhere*. Even if it came from another planet source, that planet had to somehow receive the materials from somewhere else.

So where does it start?

Re:paging captain obvious? (1)

Evan Meakyl (762695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091776)

I don't say that it has happened like this, but organic compounds can be created from "basic" elements, see the Urey Miller experiment ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller-Urey_experimen t [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:paging captain obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091490)

Matter is neither created nor destroyed.

the law of conservation. It really doesn't play into affect here. The problem is... its not a matter of it being created or destroyed as in matter or molecules but the energy. You're looking at it in the wrong way. If you used your logic then that material has always existed and must always exist in that form.

I dunna. I think the whole ET asteroid life sounds like a load of shit to me. I stick with Miller-Urey thank you very much. For those of you that don't know Miller and Urey set out to disprove that life could've formed on it own on Earth and in the end actually PROVED that it COULD have happened that way. Mix a few gases (CHNOPS) and a zip-zap of lightening .... !!!!

Re:paging captain obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091608)

huh...so ?

and that somewhere got it from ???

All this means is that there are carbon based compounds outside of earth too (and about their possible age) . Nothing more nothing less ..( we do know of methane in other planets already ). Big bang does not make a distinction about the initial origins of different bodies, so there is no reason to assume that organic matter in earth has to be from somewhere else in space...

Oh, boy! (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091046)

Andromeda Strain [imdb.com] comes to life?

So what. Its happened plenty of times before (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17091144)

Organic matter has been found in meteorites decades ago.

Canadian! (1)

G_Sus2019 (889273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091168)

Sounds like the remains of the Canadian who came almost all the way back from the stars

Black oil alien (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091186)

Canadian scientists discovered a black, oily substance inside a meteorite...agh...ah...agh...act normally and await further instructions.

The truth is out there, aye.

Re:Black oil alien (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091600)

Nice sig.

Its Genghis Khan (really: Chinggis Khan) , and he fell off a horse, not a pony.

Re:Black oil alien (1)

popsicle67 (929681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092078)

Few of the horses in his cavalcade were said to be over 14 hands, thus it may be inferred that he did indeed die from falling off a pony.

Re:Black oil alien (1)

ViciousAndCruel (1000116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092346)

> The truth is out there, aye.

You mean "The truth is out there, Eh"

Panspermia (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091236)

Attributed to Anaxagoras ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaxagoras [wikipedia.org] ) in the 5th century BCE. Basically the idea the precursors to life are everywhere in the universe, allowing that life on earth may have sprung from this source.

It seems plausible. This evidence doesn't prove it though.

FTA:

The structures are invisible to the naked eye and resemble minute hollow balls with carbon-rich shells. A chunk of meteorite no larger than a grape could contain a billion of the tiny globules.

Fullerene? That would explain a lot about the persistence of these structures through the process of transport and reentry.

Disclaimer: "God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform." - William Cowper ( for varying values of "God", "mysterious", "wonders" - symbolset )

Re:Panspermia (1)

alexhard (778254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092490)

Attributed to Anaxagoras
Damn, those ancient Greeks were a pretty smart bunch..

so what? (2, Funny)

stachu trawki (974003) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091252)

Methane (CH4) found for example in vast quantities on the most outer planet, Plutonium, is also an organic compound. But it does not mean that there is, or has ever been, life. First, we need to know when compound it was. Otherwise there's really nothing to talk about.

Re:so what? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17092116)

Plutonium, is also an organic compound

So which bit of "organic" or "compound" don't you understand?

how to measure the age (5, Insightful)

Meltir (891449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091280)

Im actually interested, how do you measure the age of an object so old, when its not from earth ?
I mean the amount of radioactive materials that fall apart a thousand or so years after being 'inserted' into a certain object is valid only if we know the amount on the env surrounding it.
How do we know how old this thing is without actually being sure where it came from ?

Maybe there was less of the izotope in the env. ?
Or maybe there was much, much more of it ?

This is besides the point if the rock actually contains some fossilized life forms, if its a billion years younger or older, then this fact makes a pretty big difference, right ?

I understand that the age of stars can be measured by the spectrum (iirc, as light travels further/longer it leans towards one of the edges).

I also get how we can determine how we check the basic building block of an object a milion light years away by the light spectrum too.

But the age, when we are not really sure of the exact amount of izotopes in the env. ?

Could somebody educate this fool with a friendly wikipedia link ?

Re:how to measure the age (5, Informative)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091820)

First, just to whip out my creds I have a doctorate in astronomy, although not in this sub-field...

The typical way to set an age of a very old object is, as you note, by looking at its radioactive decay history. A good chronometer for meteorites is uranium, both U238 and U235. They have different decay rates, so the difference between the starting and ending abundance ratio of the two gives you the age. As you note, the trick is to determine what the starting ratio is; this is largely an educated guess, but presumably the population seen in the meteorite was created in the same supernova explosion, so a little nuclear physics tells you what that should be (Google 'neutron drip line'). A good check on the result is to also look at the isotope ratio of lead: Pb207 is the daughter of U238 decay, and Pb206 the daughter of U235. There are several other useful decays to check (Al26 comes to mind), so while it's admittedly a house of cards (but so is everything in astronomy, really) , it is at least more than one card.

And, not to be critical, but your description of determining the ages of stars is...off. To be fair, it is a difficult method to both explain and perform for individual stars.

The forming of the first nations. (0, Troll)

Enema (1035048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091282)

Quite frankly, I fail to see how this affects the recent rise of lolography on the internet. Perhaps we can harvest the organic material to create a device to aid humanity in frying bacon shirtless, without risk of trauama.

No Intelligent Life at NatGeo (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091496)

What kind of "news" story makes such a big deal out of such a fundamentally important claim - "organic matter older than the Sun found in Canadian meteorites", but doesn't say exactly what makes these "globules" qualify as "organic"? The only details about the claimed "organic" matter are that they "resemble minute hollow balls with carbon-rich shells", where "minute" is vaguely implied to be smaller than 10 um^3. (a billionth the volume of a grape).

There's more info detailing that the Yukon is cold and unpopulated than any info about how this carbon is "organic".

In fact, practically all carbon on the Earth is older than the Sun. Carbon is produced in the cores of unusually massive stars, then distributed across the Universe after the star explodes in supernova or similarly huge cataclysm. Just composition of carbon, and the other "organic" elements (nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen) essential to Earth organic chemistry, doesn't make these tiny grains accurately called "organic globules".

Maybe actual science, written by an actual journalist, could report the more important facts behind this sensational headline.

IN THE BEGINNING... (1, Flamebait)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091506)

God created GOO. And He saw that it was GOOD.

So he sprayed it all over a bunch of his pet shit that was busy coalescing into a webbing of galactic vortices and pinpricks of fusion according to a set of the laws of physics he read out of an ad in the back of a magazine.

Now what we need is a big, big KLEENEX.

Perhaps meteorites explain left handedness (1)

edbarbar (234498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091640)


Given that almost all life uses left handed amino acids, perhaps that is were life came from: some meteorite that favored left handed forms.

That there aren't right handed forms also suggests life might be hard to get started (someone help out here, could left handed life forms get calories from right handed life forms?).

It was probably (0, Offtopic)

JustOK (667959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091782)

...Poutine, I'm guessing.

New summary, sensationalism aside (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091792)

A Canadian meteorite, dating from the formation of the solar system, has been found in Canada. Like many other meteorites, it contains organic matters. The article doesn't state it, but it is probably something akin to amino acids. Apparently, it is the first time this organic matter is found in spherical bubbles, that the original article misleadingly calls "globules". As usual, the article is light on technical details but heavy on wild crazy sensationalist extrapolation. The journalist would like to make believe that cells could have existed on these meteorites but unfortunately has strictly no evidence of this.

"The structures are invisible to the naked eye and resemble minute hollow balls with carbon-rich shells. A chunk of meteorite no larger than a grape could contain a billion of the tiny globules.

Theoretically, their hollow-ball shape could have presented a homey environment of concentrated organic matter where early cellular life could develop.

Such theories boast little evidence but raise many intriguing questions. " (emphasis mine)

EM Radiation Interferes with Absolute Dating (3, Interesting)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091798)

I wouldn't believe the dating results for these types of things. There is a big problem with trying to date asteroids, meteorites and such.

Absolute dating assumes that isotopes degrade in a purely statistical manner. There is reason to believe, however, that changes in electromagnetic bombardment of an isotope can affect the decay of those isotopes. Using a simple experimental apparatus, decay rates can be correlated with the phases of the moon, the motions of the Sun and the stars. Go to http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/tim e.html [21stcentur...cetech.com] for the details. This is not some crazy idea. Labs already perform corrections on raw carbon dating data due to electromagnetic bombardment into the atmosphere (which affects the amount of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere, which are then inhaled by living things).

There is also good reason to believe since the Deep Impact mission to Comet Tempel 1 that comets are merely asteroids on elliptical orbits that have picked up the voltage of deep space and then come into range of the Sun's weak electric field. Rather than being the trail of sublimating ice, the comet's coma and tail are evidence of electric machining. This makes sense because asteroids have occasionally been observed to turn into comets near the gas giant planets. If this is true, then this would mean that asteroids are regularly exposed to potentially large amounts of electromagnetic radiation. For more information, go here: http://www.thunderbolts.info/pdf/ElectricComet.pdf [thunderbolts.info] .

This process of electric machining would almost surely affect the dating ages of these objects *if* the experiment linked to above is true. It might also explain why some craters don't quite date to the years that we think they should.

This of course causes all sorts of problems for archaeology, geology and astronomy, and this fact alone might induce a lot of scientists to want to look the other way. So, I wouldn't expect a lot of curiosity on these things so long as they pose such a threat to research that has already been done.

Oh, shit... (1)

GhaleonStrife (916215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17091860)

Quickly! Start building the giant robots! The Aerogaters (AKA Balmar Empire) are coming!

Wrong spelling (2, Funny)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092098)

Surely finding organic compounds should change the name of a meteorite to a meateorite. Yummy!

Nuke um (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092280)

So we can nuke Tagish Lake like in the movie [imdb.com] ?

Why are organic molecules special? (2, Insightful)

Myria (562655) | more than 7 years ago | (#17092548)

Certainly, organic molecules are required for life as we know it. But there are many other possibilities.

Why do we assume that there is no life in some place we can't explore, like inside the Sun? Certainly there is no life there based on complex carbon molecules. However, what excludes the possibility of life based on such other mechanism?
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