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Ingredients for life found in meteorites that crashed to Earth

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2.1k points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago


  • Two unique, 4.5 billion year old meteorites landed on Earth in 1998.

  • What makes them special is that they still contain volatile minerals, usually this stuff gets burnt off by the heat of re-entry

  • Specifically, they have halite (salt) crystals. These only form in the presence of water and so these meteorites must have come from an ocean world at the dawn of the solar system

  • The salt crystals have organic molecules trapped inside them. In chemistry, organic does not mean life, it means complex carbon-based compounds; although these are crucial to the evolution of life as we know it.

  • The carbon compounds are unexpectedly complex and include amino acids

  • This 'ocean world' was probably Ceres or some other large object in the asteroid belt. 4.5 billion years ago, large asteroids were still warm from the heat of their formation and so oceans were widespread across the solar system. Don't think water planet, think more convecting mudball- with a hard rocky surface, but with a muddy ocean underneath.

  • If complex organic chemistry and liquid water were everywhere 4.5 billion years ago, it increases the chances that life is common in the universe. It also increases the chances that alien life exists on Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus, right now, a possibility that will be investigated by future NASA mission Europa Clipper.

Scientific article link- "Organic matter in extraterrestrial water-bearing salt crystals"

483 points · 6 months ago

I really do hope we find extraterrestrial life during my lifetime

240 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

We probably will (assuming you're not in your 60s)

The next generation of telescopes will be able to search for Biosignatures in the atmospheres of habitable planets around other stars. If life is common in the universe (and that's a big if), we'll probably detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of at least one exoplanet in the 2020s. It should be cautioned however that biosignatures alone aren't definitive proof, and until we actually visit that exoplanet, we wont know for sure.

Failing that, there's a chance fossilised life will be found on Mars by the Mars 2020 or ExoMars rovers. ExoMars in particular has some cutting-edge instruments, and will be the first ever Mars mission that could give us a high confidence detection of life-presuming of course it finds fossilised microbes in the first place. Present-day, living alien life could be found in the oceans of Europa or the deserts of Titan as soon as the 2030s, by the Europa Lander and Dragonfly missions (respectively).

I'm seriously betting on the first sign of life being on one of those damn moons. Either single celled, or those creatures that live near thermal vents. I want the world to change because of a space fish XD

If we found life in our own solar system, imagine the possibilities farther away.

Statistically speaking, wouldn't that almost guarantee intelligent life somewhere else?

Not for sure, its same as the argument of just any life. The possibility of both life and not life is equal until its found. With a large number of planets or space bodies it would seem plausible.
Remember though, there was a lot of chance and parameters into the point we have reached. And those may be the only set of things that equal intelligent life, or may not. I think the statistic does get better the more we discover, so this is definetly a step towards it.

24 points · 6 months ago(1 child)

I don't know why but this made me think of "The Unknown is Knowable at Zombo com!"

If we find life on another planet in our own solar system though, that means that life is common in the universe. That greatly increases the odds of intelligent life being out there somewhere else in the universe.

Well, it'll depend on whether or not said life is related to us. If it's got DNA that looks roughly the same as ours then we'll have to assume that we have a shared origin.

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I honestly agree with you. I think there's a good chance that those moons are better suited for life than Earth is. Lots of water, lots of minerals, heat from tidal forces, protection from asteroids, gamma rays bursts, solar radiation etc. Seems like a nice place to live overall. Not for us, obviously, but for some nice little sea creatures. Plus, we've got a couple of valid moons, so that's nice.

I think there's a good chance that those moons are better suited for life than Earth is

Do you really mean Earth?

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I agree that there is a good chance of life being on one of those moons.

I don't, however, agree with the statement that the moon's are better suited for life than Earth. Earth is literally perfect for life to theive. Distance from the sun, type of star, atmosphere, seasons, maybe tidal forces from our own moon, abundance of attainable water. I'm sure there're many other reasons as well. You pretty much can't get any more of a perfect environment/planet for life as we know it to thrive than Earth.

Key words in this are “life as we know it” but I bet if any life is thriving on those moons they’ll be much happier there than here.

But if you think about it from an energy standpoint, the temperature on Earth is the main factor why it is perfect for life. Metabolisms in life on a frigid cold climate like a jovian moon would be crazy slow and I can't imagine any life that can live in an environment like Venus. Earth like climate encourages evolution. Earth's climate makes life efficient.

All I'm saying is that even though we only know one type of life, it is pretty much guaranteed that an icy moon is not a better environment for life than Earth.

I have to be pressimistic, but may I ask why you think the world would change? I feel even evidence wouldn't change the minds of those people that concretely discount extraterrestrial life, and those that believe it's possible, it would only validate.

I don't think you're necessarily wrong, but I wondering what exactly you think would change in the world we currently live in?

A readjustment of priorities seems likely IMO.

Finding definitive proof that there is extraterrestrial life makes the apparent chance of there being advanced intelligent life far greater. More importantly, it also makes the realistic ROI of finding intelligent life far greater.

Combine this with the surge of public interest such a discovery would bring, and the optimist in me thinks it could kick off a second space race. At the very least we'd probably see the budgets of space agencies rise a bit.

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The only thing I feel like evidence of extraterrestrial life would shake up is religion. Even that not so much as they would just make up excuses.

I know that Astronauts experience the "Overview" effect/affect? Perhaps when humans realize we aren't alone, it might have a profound change? Just hoping really.

When people talk about the "economy" of space, people think asteroid mining and the like. Who knows, maybe it will the space-fish industry instead.

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Detecting biosignatures is a far cry from detecting life, though.

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I feel I read it somewhere recently, but can't remember where, about how scientists are planning on also looking for light pollution at some point. Either way I hope we find something that would be so cool.

14 points · 6 months ago(3 children)
7 points · 6 months ago(0 children)

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I want to see sentient alien life, it would be scary and cool at the same time.

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I do too, but honestly we can't even get along and look past differences among the races of our own planet. What are the chances that we could do this with intelligent life elsewhere? This is in the off chance of course that we ever find life forms that we could communicate with. Not talking about space bugs or some shit.

Unlikely that we'll find intelligent life within our reach, so your first worry isn't that pressing. Space bugs are a possibility.

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Probably one of the things I’m most hopeful for, i want to live to see Earth join the galactic federation

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Funny thing... I'm for a job in Saudi now. 2 days ago we drive back to the hotel (around 17:40) and my colleague says:"you see that?"

So I look and there are 5 "fireballs" far away in the sky for about 3 seconds. Then they disappeared, but reappeared after a few min for just 2 sec.

My colleague and I (both chemical engineers) only acknowledge what we saw... not what we think it was. Because... what the hell was it!?

4 points · 6 months ago

the whole area is crawling with military hardware. you probably saw jets turning their asses at you, then out of your sight line, then back again for a little while

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63 points · 6 months ago

Good summary, let's get this higher up in the thread!

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23 points · 6 months ago

Panspermia is looking more and more like a thing. It never made much sense that these kinds of complex chemicals originated here. The universe has 9 billion years on our solar system, after all.

Is it possible that these meteorites were knocked off the earth earlier in the solar system's developement and just returned?

That's a very good point!

Basically, they measured the abundance of the isotope 15 N. The enrichment of this isotope is different to what's found in rock samples from Earth but similar to what's found in samples from Renazzo-type carbonaceous chondrites, aka carbon rich asteroids.

Thank you! I feel so smart right now for even getting a "That's a good point." I literally failed science in HS because "No, GOD did it." I've been trying to fix that for a few years. I learned stuff! I LEARNED STUFF!

12 points · 6 months ago

Absolutely amazing. Kinda sounds like there was a "creationary period" of chaos and warmth, from which emerged life. In many places and many forms. The crazy thing is if there were similar "origin points" then a good portion of evolved life would likely wind up humanoid, but adapted to their environment. Its funny how they talk about "little green men".. We live on a very small planet, thus very little gravity, allowing us to be very big and tall. Humanoids evolving on a very large planet would evolve to be much smaller because of the "extreme" gravity.. At least, compared to what we are used to. I have always wanted to see humans colonizing other worlds in my lifetime, to meet and acknowledge other races of space-faring civilizations. I wonder if, the insignificance that we would feel upon learning that we are one of many would help us to put our petty differences aside and come together as one, like times of crisis tend to do. I just hope that our rampant violence and the evil that has consumed most of our species has not scared off more intelligent species from even allowing contact with us. Perhaps they are all out there, just avoiding us like the plague.. Waiting for us to "grow up".

While I think an extraterrestrial civilization may be progressing to similar levels of "Technology" I don't think they have to be anything like us. We only became what we are through sheer chance, Mammals could've totally gotten screwed on another planet. Hail Lizard people! lol

Very good point. Again though, I'm definitely not saying all of them. Just a good portion. Im sure there would,be many species that are nowhere near whatwe even consider to be life as well. Completely different from what we would imagine. Whatever they are, inorder to be technological, they will need opposaboe thumbs or some sort of design allwing them to manipulate objects. Hard to imagine other ways to do it, but I'm sure there are many.

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The moon is also 4.5 billion years old and was possibly created when another object collided with Earth. Those meteorites could be fragments leftover from the same collision.

I don't think we have found organic compounds on moon

Ya i think the moon was created early on in when everything was still consistently hit with asteroids and earth was sterile

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super interesting, thank you

Thanks for breaking this down for everybody, I appreciate it.

4 points · 6 months ago

Seems like the only "protein" aminoacid mentioned is alanine, in racemic ration between L (the correct one) and D

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Not to bang on this article, but we have known for a long time that hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen exist elsewhere in the solar system. That's the ingredients for life. Slightly more interesting is that the compounds found are probably indicative that liquid water exists/existed somewhere besides earth, which we were also fairly confident of.

It is also amazing that they found amino acids.

Thank you for the sources!

27 points · 6 months ago

it's glycine correct?

original find. yes.


and wikipedia:

Murchison contains common amino acids such as glycine, alanine and glutamic acid as well as unusual ones like isovaline and pseudoleucine.[5] A complex mixture of alkanes was isolated as well, similar to that found in the Miller–Urey experiment. Serine and threonine, usually considered to be earthly contaminants, were conspicuously absent in the samples. A specific family of amino acids called diamino acids was identified in the Murchison meteorite as well.

Measured purine and pyrimidine compounds were found in the Murchison meteorite.

How did you get that username???

14 points · 6 months ago

I worked on it before it became a tool.

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Considering it's only a 3 year old account it is pretty surprising.

Thanks! I didnt know!

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I thought amino acids were only made by living things.

Amino acids can form naturally if you have nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and energy. Proteins on the other hand...

Can form naturally if you have life forms. :)

How do you mean? Proteins are still critical structures at even the loosest definition of "life" (prions). So wouldn't that be a chicken or the egg situation?

That's the joke.

28 points · 6 months ago(More than 6 children)
9 points · 6 months ago(0 children)
9 points · 6 months ago(0 children)
2 points · 6 months ago(0 children)

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I don't get why chicken or egg question is so complicated. It's actually really simple. Obviously, the chicken came first.

Why? Well, if you look at the question from the modern perspective, you don't know the answer because the chicken lays eggs so it can't come first. However, from the evolutionary perspective, chicken came first because it was an animal that evolved to a point where it could give birth through eggs and became the chicken we know today. So, technically, the chicken came first (or the devolved version of the chicken that couldn't yet reproduce through eggs).

On the other hand, also from an evolutionary perspective, surely the first chicken would have been born from an egg laid by a sort of proto-chicken.

The almost-but-not-quite chicken would have laid an egg with a tiny genetic mutation that meant it would grow into a chicken, rather than another proto-chicken.

So obviously the egg came first.

which begs the question, which came first, the proto-chicken or the proto-egg, so to what end does the proto qualifier matter? It's madness!

99.99% Chicken gives birth to 100% egg.

Team egg.

13 points · 6 months ago

But egg laying amphibians came first. So the egg came first

Well they never did specify amniotic egg did they?

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The signature of life is if they are all the same chirality. Each complex molecule like an animo acid can exist in two versions that are mirror images of each other. If they are just coming together randomly from raw elements (which does happen in small amounts, even in space), you expect half to be right-handed version and half to be left-handed version. But life uses chain reactions of existing molecules to guide the construction of new molecules and this ends up only producing one of the two possible versions of each amino acid.

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13 points · 6 months ago

Amino acids have been known to exist on comets for a good long while now (I learned about it in high school chemistry in 2005-2007ish, although I had the kind of chemistry teacher who kept up with the news).

What's been an issue for a while, though, is that a lot (most?) of the amino acids found in space have been mirror images of the ones found in living things on Earth, and thus biologically incompatible. I don't know if that's still generally the case.

IIRC when amino acids form from just some elements sitting around and some energy the chirality (useful vs. mirror / left vs right handed) is random. In order to work life needs to go with just one chirality.

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I have had this doubt for a long time but dont these ingredient only apply to life as we know. Is there any chance that there might be different forms of life which dont need these ingredients

Yes, but why waste scientific resources looking for something with zero evidence when we barely have the resources to fail at finding life types that are proven?

Probably? But these are some of the most common elements in the universe, with loads of stable and/or energetic reactions with each other. And the kicker is simply that we know that our version works. Any other version is purely theoretical, and often depends on highly unlikely circumstances, such as an atmosphere that is high in fluorine instead of oxygen.

Yeah something as improbable as life has to be built on big, solid, high-percentage base. If #1 of your great filters eliminates 99% right away, the chances that you reach step 25 are just too low.

Especially at the more basic levels it seems wildly unlikely that life would form on Earth in a way anything other than totally common.

It's like if you're looking at situations of someone who won 25 hands of blackjack in a row, it's pretty unlikely that "stood at 14" is going to come up in the first 2 hands on really any of those.

I came to the comments to say that the ingredients for life are the most abundant ingredients in the universe.

20 points · 6 months ago

Depends on what you mean by the phrase "ingredients for life". The main elements that constitute living things (hydrogen; oxygen; carbon; nitrogen) are found all over the place, but the compounds they form in living things aren't necessarily the most common compounds they form outside of living things.

Helium is the second most common element in the universe, and it's not part of living things at all.

To form the right compounds you need the right conditions. We're talking about the ingredients for life as we know it. Helium is the second most abundant element, but it is chemically inert.

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I have a dream that one day, there will be an article with a headline which accurately summarises content.

Trillions of planets out there. Is there really any doubt that liquid water exists elsewhere?

6 points · 6 months ago

There's pretty good evidence that there are large oceans of liquid water even on other bodies in our solar system. The problem is that liquid water + Carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, etc alone aren't enough for life. You need lots of free energy, reductive environment, time, and most importantly, luck. Humans have been trying for ages to create even the simplest life forms from scratch in the best scenarios possible from what we understand and we've never been fully successful. So either were unlucky or there's even more requirements for life that we don't yet know.

Yup. Hypatia Stone is the REAL space news.

Life as we know it.

I still find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that life on Earth only started once. That when you go back down the family tree. We all originally evolved from a single cell of bacteria.

In all this time there has only been one Genesis. Why? Did life possibly start a second or third time. Only it just didn't survive and reproduce enough to still be around today. Did life start a thousand times and our family tree was the only one to manage to reproduce successfully?

I find this all endlessly fascinating.

Whoa..whoa lets slow it down. The idea of life originating from bacteria is not a sure fire thing, its only one theory with some evidence. It's entirely possible that and in opinion based on what I've read (and you too if you're interested), that viruses were the precursors to life.

science seems pretty sure that bacteria were not the first in the long line, they require DNA which is already faaaaaaar too evolved along the chain of life

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Viruses need a host with all its cellular machinery to reproduce. Viruses as we know them could not have been the precursors.

Viruses as most people know them yes, you are correct. Most people understand viruses as simply something that is not alive for the mere criterion of "needing a host cell's machinery." I'll point you in the direction of Pandavirus, Mimivirus, and Pithovirus, these are termed giant viruses mind you, of which some have some of their own machinery within genetic material - yes, their own1 . That is not to say that they don't infect cells, or use a host's machinery.***

  • Viruses are simple2 enough to have been the "entities" of existence before cells.

  • Viruses have reverse transcriptase3 ( an enzyme that allows us to break the central dogma of genetics, in other words RNA -DNA- Protein )- cells that we know of so far do not.

Biology, and really all of existence is never black and white as I've learned, there is always possibility for anything - the rules and generalizations taught in Bio, or Physio today likely have exceptions.

I think at this point, I've got to start providing sources...

  1. In-depth study of Mollivirus sibericum, a new 30,000-y-old giant virus infecting Acanthamoeba.

  2. Viruses and cells intertwined since the dawn of evolution.

  3. Overview of Reverse Transcription.

11 points · 6 months ago

One of the hypotheses, which if someone can remember the name of can add please, is that the life we already have is already too well adapted for further abiogenesis events to survive.

It could be happening daily, but the life doesn't have millions of years uninterrupted to even develop rudimentary adaptations before its exposed to all manner of well adapted microscopic life that is hungry. I'd lose too if I was dropped in a cage VS 20 mma fighters and told to fight them over food.

4 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Here's some different perspectives.

Horizontal gene transfer poses a possible challenge to the concept of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) at the root of the tree of life first formulated by Carl Woese, which led him to propose the Archaea as a third domain of life.

If there had been continued and extensive gene transfer, there would be a complex network with many ancestors, instead of a tree of life with sharply delineated lineages leading back to a LUCA. However, a LUCA can be identified, so horizontal transfers must have been relatively limited.

At the beginnings of life, ancestry was not as linear as it is today because the genetic code took time to evolve.[32] Before high fidelity replication, organisms could not be easily mapped on a phylogenetic tree. Not to be confused with the Ur-organism, however, the LUCA lived after the genetic code and at least some rudimentary early form of molecular proofreading had already evolved. It was not the very first cell, but rather, the one whose descendants survived beyond the very early stages of microbial evolution.

Horizontal gene transfer

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) or lateral gene transfer (LGT) is the movement of genetic material between unicellular and/or multicellular organisms other than by the ("vertical") transmission of DNA from parent to offspring. HGT is an important factor in the evolution of many organisms.

Horizontal gene transfer is the primary mechanism for the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, plays an important role in the evolution of bacteria that can degrade novel compounds such as human-created pesticides and in the evolution, maintenance, and transmission of virulence. It often involves temperate bacteriophages and plasmids.

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I think it's like wildfires starting from one spark. It's not that there were no other sparks happening and it is conceivable that near enough the same time, multiple sparks started fires that ultimately combined into a major wildfire, but really most of the time it was probably just 1 situation that caught traction.

It's like in blackjack, winning a hand of blackjack is not really that hard, but winning 100 hands in a row is incredibly unlikely. So even though hands of blackjack are being won all the time and everywhere, if the requirement of "success" is to win 100 hands in a row, that's a very special and rare event.

What about if life started multiple times on earth but were so similar we'll never know.

Because we can look at our DNA and we can see that's not the case.

I wonder if this will change as we discover more life forms which can survive space

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Well, while it's not useless to speculate on life as we don't know it, it is sort of useless to look for building blocks of other types of life. Because we don't know what those would be and we don't really know that other types are possible. Silicon instead of calcium? Fluorine as the main oxidizer? These are theoretically possible, but...

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1 point · 6 months ago(1 child)

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Perhaps a meteorite crashing with these components helped the materials by providing the much needed energy to fuse in the necessary fassion? Just a thought with absolutely no scientific premises other than the law of conservation.

underwater volcanoes and gas/water vents are the most likely place for that evolution to have taken place, they have an excess of energy and an excess of all the necessary building blocks, this is also the main reason we recently started to expect life in a lot more possible places, for example all those where water is in it's liquid form and has active volcanism/tidal forces, the voyage to Europa 2 currently being the main mission to prove life being prepped for currently

Hi, I am stupid and don’t we already know Mars has at least frozen water? I could be wrong and that’s just theorized. Or something

Sure, lots of places in the universe have frozen water! Water as such isn't an unusual compound; it's just some hydrogen and some oxygen lumped together in an uncomplicated reaction, and those are both very abundant elements.

Comets are comprised of water ice to a large degree, and it's thought that comet impacts may have been one of the main ways that water got to the early Earth.

4 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Comets are comprised of water ice to a large degree, and it's thought that comet impacts may have been one of the main ways that water got to the early Earth.

Wow! Can you elaborate on that at all? Were comet impacts significant/frequent enough back then to result in sizeable accumulations of water on earth?

Thank you for your response, this is one reason I love reddit. People like you with a deep understanding of the subject taking your time to answer my curious questions :)

edit: words

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I thought I remember researchers concluding that the water on mars was just frozen co2.

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"Panspermia is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust, meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, ...."

Love the term, love the concept.

74 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Reddit really likes this "theory", but reminder: There is literally no evidence to support the theory of panspermia.

It's just a hypothesis. No evidence for it whatsoever, just conjecture. Right now the scientific consensus is that DNA or a predecessor RNA-like molecule developed on Earth, probably at a hydrothermal vent.

edit: It's also worth mentioning that sheer vastness of space and time make panspermia between solar systems unbelievably unlikely. However, within a solar system, it is much more plausible- for instance, our computer models predict the asteroid that killed the non-avian dinosaurs will have sent a few of kilograms of Earth material to Jupiter's moon Europa.

Not just hydrothermal vents; lightning strikes, ultraviolet light, meteoric impacts, hot springs, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and solar flares all could be mechanisms to zap life into being. It's so fascinating to think about.

8 points · 6 months ago

Very doubtful solar flares and earthquakes would do much chemistry in the right environments, but geothermal sources of energy are very likely.

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Is there any evidence for the latter or is that just conjecture that everyone believes in?

There's some evidence, people can create the molecules that we believe eventually turned into life in the lab, if we sat for millions of years guiding reactions would could eventually create living/working/reproducing cells. It just takes so long, even with our guidance so while it's possible the latter is true it's also very unlikely.

There's a lot more experimental evidence, but it isn't necessarily provable as far as we know, just because there isn't much around from that long ago.

We know a very very simple nucleotides can basically self assemble if you've got the correct soup of C, H, O, N, +trace elements. We know that naturally forming lipids near certain environments like black smokers by nature form bilayers (structure similar to cell membrane).

It might seem "unlikely" but you are talking about an absurd amount of chemical interactions that were happening continuously for millions of years. Maybe I'm just biased cause I studied buology, but that seems much more likely than all that happening someplace else THEN getting shot into space in an explosion, THEN surviving on a meteor for some indeterminate amount of time, THEN surviving re-entry.

It's important to remember RNA World hypothesis is at least an actual statement about "how life started" while Panspermia is just an idea of "where life came from".

I believe you would enjoy reading this article. Not necessarily on panspermia, but has some maths to "support" per se the theory. Excellent read and truly thought provoking.

scientific consensus

Are you sure? Aren't there many theories to how life got started, without any way to verify which is true until we know more? We don't have evidence to support the theory of panspermia, but there's nothing definitive supporting other theories either as far as I know.

Does panspermia even count as a theory to how life started? It's more just a theory of where, and the theory is "not here". It still has to have formed somewhere else for panspermia to have occurred.

I don't think they're looking for how life started, i think they're looking for how life started on Earth. It's kind of hard to find where life started when the universe is infinite and we've only seen a small, small, SMALL fraction of it.

Yeah but "it came from somewhere else" doesn't answer the question. It just raises the question "Ok, what caused that?"

Haha the thing is, due to the scale, each answer just raises many more questions.

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What I like most about that theory is the name of it. Similar to how fish operate.

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46 points · 6 months ago(0 children)

"Ingredients for a cake found in meteorites that crashed into Earth, that story again, not a cake that crashed into earth."

I remember reading that the probability of DNA developing on Earth within it's short existence is close to zero, and it is much more likely to have been introduced by an outside source. Can anyone offer any insight?

I know what you're referring to. It was likely talking about dissociation constants for chemical reactions and the fact that enzymes are absolutely necessary for biochemical reactions to take place - in other words chemical reactions are highly unlikely in a massive expanse of molecular building blocks to the point of complexity we see today. In fact, without enzymes life would likely not be able to carry out any functions. Which begs the questions, how in the world did it get this far? It obvious something had to behave like an enzyme to get this party started. Deep vents of heat to provide the energy? Maybe - but if would truly be like winning the lottery against unfathomable odds. Then again, who knows yet, there is always possibility not matter how unlikely.

That's exactly what I mean. It would be almost more far fetched than panspermia the odds would be so low. I didnt think of the idea that proteins or something similar would have preceded RNA but that sounds a lot more likely. It's still amazing that the right chemicals would be able to come together to form an active protein, and eventually one which could give rise to a coding system. Its nuts. Sorry for my rusty low level cell biology. I am just a gardener but I loved studying cell biology in college and worked at the planetarium too. Its just the most incredible shit.

There is literally no evidence to support the theory of panspermia.

It's just a hypothesis. No evidence for it whatsoever, just conjecture. Right now the scientific consensus is that DNA or a predecessor RNA-like molecule developed on Earth, probably at a hydrothermal vent.

That's not what the scientific consensus is. We dont have concensus on matters where there is not yet any evidence. Thats an armchair concensus. If you want to use the term concensus correctly in this statement you would have to say the scientists see this as most likely. Panspermia is still seriously recognised as a contender though because there is no evidence in support of any of the theories yet.

The only evidence against panspermia as of yet is our lack of evidence of life outside Earth, and that can not seriously be seen as evidence.

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178 points · 6 months ago

I was considering the Fermi paradox, as one does, and then I read this article and came to the conclusion that perhaps we were sent from another solar system via an asteroid. I think we might be the aliens...

Perhaps there is a message encoded in the oldest parts of our DNA. Perhaps evolution is guided after-all, not by a god but by an advanced alien civilization. Perhaps we humans are only a stepping stone in that evolution.

Maybe I drank coffee too late in the evening and now I’m up reading the entire internet.

111 points · 6 months ago

Go home Darwin, you’re drunk.

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The plot of all scifi novels, movies, and games since 1968

Edit: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Halo, Mass Effect, the list goes on

Yup, those three things are definitely all of the things.

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Can i please buy a gram of whatever youre smoking?

Yea it's probably it out of this world.

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Sir we have decoded the message hidden in the deepest, oldest parts of our DNA

What is it?

“New phone, who dis?”

Alternate ending...

What is it?

"Drink more Ovaltine."

"What's it say?"

"TODO: fix up this code, it somehow breaks the immortality feature"

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Maybe we are from a generation ship, that landed on the Earth and through those generations we forgot! Hmmmm?

Battlestar Galactica anybody?

All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again!

I for one welcome our new Cylon overlords.

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Jesus, you're just like my friend Matt. We would come out of the practice rooms at 5am, completely exhausted, and the guys was like "right on, now let me tell you about this theory I have about the universe !

  • Matt, you fucking california roll mixed with acid, just go to bed."
    And, in case you're wondering, we were also drinking too much coffee during the evening.

Are you Terrence Mckenna?

He said messages in our DNA, not messages being beamed into cows and transferred into the mushrooms that eat their poo.

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3 points · 6 months ago

Ok, but on the planet we originaly came from, is thr same question again, how did we become there?

Rudimentary beings of flesh and blood.

2 points · 6 months ago

How does panspermia resolve the fermi paradox in any way?

If life on earth came from life elsewhere then doesn’t that just make for more of an unexplained absence of life in the universe?

2 points · 6 months ago

But then another questions arises: How did that advanced alien civilization come into being?

Also, we should send our DNA to random planets in the galaxy to confuse the fuck out of some aliens a few billion years from now.

Directed Panspermia?

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Reddit really likes this "theory", but reminder: There is literally no evidence to support the theory of panspermia.

It's just a hypothesis. No evidence for it whatsoever, just conjecture. Right now the scientific consensus is that DNA or a predecessor RNA-like molecule developed on Earth, probably at a hydrothermal vent.

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Humans probably won't ever ride ships to these 'Earth like' planets we keep finding, instead we will send frozen embryos or something to be raised by nanobots.

Or maybe an adult could be built from nanobots.

We will be the ones pansperming across the universe.

You're too fanciful.

You been reading Pandemic, haven't you?

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In case anyone was wondering, these are the ingredients for Life: Whole Grain Oat Flour, Sugar, Corn Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Disodium Phosphate, Reduced Iron, Niacinamide*, Zinc Oxide, BHT (A Preservative), Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Thiamin Mononitrate*, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride*, Riboflavin*, Folic Acid*.

Genius. tips hat

math checks out.

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The universe is littered with these ingredients. Not finding life isn't for lack of ingredients. It's that ovens are quite rare in the universe.

8 points · 6 months ago

Also, we still don't know all the requirements for life to develop. Humans still have not succeeded in creating life from scratch in the lab despite the best technologies and research in history.

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I said something similar in another post a couple up, wish I had seen yours and just referenced it instead. Pseudointellectuals can't understand it's the process that matters and here I thought at the very least the show Breaking Bad would have deminstrated that, which it seems most of them get their education.

What are the chances that aliens and us are on the same technological level at the same “time” considering that there could be gaps of a million years between us?

Even smaller when considering that even out of the possible billions of farting amoebae in the universe, the small handful who developed into sentient beings may simply lack the digits to ever develop the tools that lead to technology. A bad case of I have no mouth and I must scream.

Hebe, a stony asteroid that has been traced as a source of other meteorites that have fallen to Earth, is a potential "parent" of the meteorites.

This is kind of cool. If Hebe is confirmed to be the origin, does this mean we can infer that Hebe was once an ocean world 4 billlion years ago? Despite the fact we've never sent a spacecraft to it?

This could be it guys! There might just be life on Earth!

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So the entire universe is 13.8 Billion Years old. Our solar system is about 4.5 and so is this fragment. I wonder if based on how complex materials are formed by stars that this means that if life started elsewhere than we are likely only a few years apart from all the other life that potentially propped up elsewhere? Hence why we haven't found one another, because we are all relatively close on the evolutionary timescale?

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Blue and purple salts. Almost sounds like Venom!!!!

3 points · 6 months ago

Microbial life from earth has had time to seed the whole galaxy in ejecta from impacts. We’re going to find life everywhere.

In case anyone is curious, here is what 250g of Zag looks like:

Enchanting how 100% random chance can engineer complex biological machines, and all you have to add is more time. It is so simple.

Comment deleted6 months ago(10 children)

The opposite of randomization is designed intent. Random natural selectors and random mutations. Evolution is 100% random in all definitions.

Comment deleted6 months ago(0 children)

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The Earth was populated with microbiological life the second after it cooled enough to have a solid surface. Where does everybody really think it came from ? The whole universe is likely filled with Alien bacteria, Earth bacteria, and probably somewhere in between as well.

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all we need now is a bit of blood from the bloodline and we can start the transmutation.

I think there's an entire series on why you don't fuck with human transmutation. Wait, no, there's 2 series and like 3 movies.

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This might come off as dumb question but why do we assume all life forms are carbon based and require same ingredients as us humans to survive? For all we know some life in our space might be made of Bismuth

Can anybody tell me why we relate alien life form to only being carbon based?

4 points · 6 months ago

Do you have any evidence to show that life might be made of bismuth?

We don't assume ALL life is made of carbon, or exactly like life on Earth. However, we do know what the building blocks for life on Earth are, and that they are at least one successful combination for life to exist. So, we look for what we know to be true as far as the existence of life is concerned.

Should we someday learn that life can thrive in a different combination of chemicals, or come from a different combination, we will also include those elements in our queries.

Because carbon is abundant and uniquely bondable, having a valence of four. It has been suggested that another element in the same column of the periodic table such as silicon could also support life, but Scientific American is skeptical.

Because of the tetravalency of carbon. It is potentially possible that other elements in the carbon family could create life, but its highly theoretical.

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