“Beyond DNA” –Researchers Probe New Models for Extraterrestrial Life

Non DNA Life

 

The discovery of the language of life, an ancient, long molecule called DNA with eight nucleotide letters suitable for storing and transmitting information, was a breakthrough in our knowledge of the range of possibilities necessary for life on Earth and beyond. Now, new studies suggest that alternatives to DNA-based life, as we know it on Earth, may be possible on other worlds.

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“New Evidence” –Origin of Life in Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents

Black Smoker NOAA

 

Francis Crick,  responsible for discovering, along with James Watson, the double-helix structure of DNA, once described the origin of life as ‘almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going’. Now, by creating protocells in hot, alkaline seawater, an undaunted University College London-led research team has added to evidence that the origin of life could have been in deep-sea hydrothermal vents rather than shallow pools. Some of the world’s oldest fossils discovered originated in such underwater vents.

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Jupiter’s Great Red Spot –“Could It Be a Way Station on the Road to Life?”

Jupiter's Great Red Spot

 

Many scientists believe that it is, suggests Paul Davies, theoretical physicist at Arizona State University and director of the Beyond Center, in The Demon in the Machine, observing that the Great Red Spot is an example of a “dissipative structure” first recognized in the 1970’s by the chemist Ilya Prigogine, who defined life as operating far from equilibrium with its environment and supporting a continued throughput of matter and energy.

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“Life is Electric” –NASA Enigma Study Explores Origins of Life on Earth & Beyond

Enceladus Moon of Saturn

 

“In science fiction, there is a lot of effort put into searching for signs of life like plants, animals and organisms that look like us. But there is a higher probability that alien life will be at the microscopic level,” says Rutgers University geochemist, Nathan Yee, co-investigator at the NASA-funded ENIGMA project that’s researching how proteins, “sophisticated nanomachines,” evolved to create life on earth. “That fact is so much more interesting when you consider what the earliest lifeforms on Earth were capable of doing.”

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Planet Earth Report –“NASA Invention May Violate Laws of Physics to the Interspecies Internet”

Earth from ISS

 

The “Planet Earth Report” connects you to headline news on the science, technology, discoveries, people and events changing our planet and the future of the human species.

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The Human Super Brain –“Floats Like a Fish in an Aquarium”

Human Brain vs Great Apes

 

The great British physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, has famously said that the human brain is more complex than the Milky Way Galaxy. Our brain is about three times the size of the brains of great apes, allowing among other things, with the evolution of novel brain structures that enabled complex behaviors such as language and tool production. A new study by anthropologists at the University of Zurich now shows that changes in the brain occurred independent of evolutionary rearrangements of the braincase.

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