October Update

Bought a standard poodle puppy.  Bringing him home October 5, so October will be full of housebreaking, and FUN.

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Tuesday
Apr192011

Commonplace Universe, Commonplace Life, Part 1

I want to consider this question:  Is there life in the universe outside of Planet Earth?  Let me say that I have always thought the answer to this question must surely be “Yes!” 

         Why?  Well, first of all, life appeared on earth almost immediately.  Our solar system is a little more than 4.5 billion years old.  Some researchers insist life appeared the moment rocks formed, more than 3.8 billion years ago.  Others argue that the first signs of life date from around 3.67 bya.  Either way, the planet had just cooled down from a ball of steam and molten minerals, had just become a place of liquid water and solid rock, when life appeared.

         That’s pretty early.  It makes it seem as if the first life on earth didn’t have that hard a time forming and evolving into the dependable, cell-based form we know today.

         Secondly, there are all those organic molecules in outer space.  When scientists were trying to imagine how the first cells could have formed from “nothing,” Stanley Miller and Harold Urey performed this experiment.  They sealed water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen gases (thought to be part of Earth’s early atomosphere) into a glass container.  Then they sparked the contents with electricity for energy, a form of energy that could have been supplied by lightning on the early earth.  The result was a soup of organic molecules, which could have provided the molecular building blocks of life.

         Now, such organic molecules have been found in space.  They must have been there all along, available to the entire solar system.  In fact, they must have been available to other solar systems.  Meteors and stellar dust could have ferried them to lots of planets.  So the building blocks of life may be everywhere in our universe.

         We are gradually finding more and more evidence that life may exist all over the universe.  Stay tuned for my next post!

´╗┐

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