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luigirovatti's avatar

What do you think about panspermia and life among the stars?

Asked by luigirovatti (2325points) August 9th, 2020

“Panspermia” is the origin of life among the stars as a universal and not local event. We evolved here but the very things we’re made of did not, and that may include life in all its self-replicating glory.

It has been known for some time that when giant stars die in supernova explosions, the material they release in the cooling conditions contain carbon grains, and that particles of other chemical elements attach themselves to the tiny grains and react enthusiastically with each other. These carbon grains were called “stardust”.

Spectroscopic studies of these star-remnant molecular clouds have found there methanimine, formaldehyde, formic acid, amine groups, and long-chain hydrocarbons caught within their veils. These are the building blocks of life: methanimine is an ingredient on amino acids; formic acid is the chemical that insects use as venom and is also the stinging ingredient in nettles.

Both are polyatomic organic molecules that combine to form the amino acid glycine, which has since been seen in molecular clouds in deep space and found in comets by NASA in 2009, and amino acids are 1 step away from life itself. That’s without planets forming.

Ultraviolet radiation bathes the clouds, heat from other nearby stars warms them, and all manner of chemical reactions occur. Frozen water, methanol, and ammonia rapidly form around the grains as the heat from the supernova fades. Trapped within these tiny cores the elements react and produce various polyatomic molecules. Experiments carried out in 2001 at NASA’s Ames Research Center confirmed these processes, when silicate grains covered in this kind of material were chilled to the temperature of deep space and suspended in ultraviolet light.

When the organic compounds produced were immersed in water, membranous cells structures appeared spontaneously, as they may have well on the young Earth. All life on Earth is based on cells such as these, biological material encased in a membrane.

In 2002, further experiments conducted with water, methanol, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide found in molecular clouds discovered that 3 amino acids called glycine, serine and alanine arose spontaneously within the containers. In another similar experiment, no less than 16 amino acids and other organic compounds were produced under the conditions that exist between the stars using nothing more than the ingredients of molecular clouds. The proteins of all living things on Earth are composed of combinations of 20 amino acids.

The chemical reactions that support metabolism in all our bodies involve just 11 small carbon molecules such as acetic and citric acids. These 11 molecules would have been sufficient to produce chemical reactions that led to the development of biomolecules such as amino acids, lipids, sugars, and eventually early genetic molecules like RNA on Earth. Metabolism came first, the fuel for life, before cells or replication or anything else. Life then followed as a natural result of chemical metabolism.

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1 Answer

SergeantQueen's avatar

I think there are other planets out there that have humans like earth does. Are they all as advanced as us? are they more advances than us? who knows. But I know they are out there. I think about this a lot.

I want out camping a few weeks ago and I looked up at the stars and got some weird thoughts. Like how can anyone think we are alone in the universe? That’s a scary thought. I don’t think we are alone.

I hope the people out there are nice and find a way to contact us. But I think they are out there. Again, how advanced they are I don’t know.

But they have to exist.

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