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Old 13th April 2019, 01:09 AM   #1
Samson
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Origin of Life: Another attempt

This article amused me

https://phys.org/news/2019-04-earlie...ds-oceans.html

Earliest life may have arisen in ponds, not oceans

Since there is one common molecular ancestor for all life on earth, and thus probably in the universe, this should read

Earliest life may have arisen in pond not ocean.
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Old 13th April 2019, 01:26 AM   #2
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Next time, post the link, skip the wrong.
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Old 13th April 2019, 01:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Next time, post the link, skip the wrong.
I don't follow, I posted the link.
People keep suggesting that one self replicating molecule ate the competitors, with no evidence the competitors ever existed.
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Old 13th April 2019, 07:48 AM   #4
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Posting the link was a good thing. Your commentary, especially your apparent amusement at what you think is a mistake, is wrong.

We have evidence of a single common DNA based ancestor, we don't have evidence of a single common molecular ancestor. There is no reason to think that "pond" is more accurate than "ponds".

There is also no support at all for life being singular in the universe. I think scientific opinion would be the opposite, that at least bacterial life is common. That would be largely based on how fast it showed up on Earth. Complicated and even intelligent life is another matter. Opinion is largely divided there.
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Old 13th April 2019, 07:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
...

Since there is one common molecular ancestor for all life on earth, and thus probably in the universe, this should read

Earliest life may have arisen in pond not ocean.
That may be a misconception about replicating molecules which could have evolved and intermingled their genetic material before strains of single-celled organisms were established.
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Old 13th April 2019, 10:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
That may be a misconception about replicating molecules which could have evolved and intermingled their genetic material before strains of single-celled organisms were established.
For that matter, they continued to intermingle genetic material after forming cells. Once there were cells, it probably took some time to develop the molecular machinery needed to produce a reliably replicating one-cell, one-genome system, and even that didn't stop the mingling. Even puddles of chemistry that eventually developed that pattern likely built on the debris of earlier false starts and dead-ends that didn't sustain replication themselves but left their mark anyway.

It's not like there was a single molecule that started replicating in a lifeless pond, formed cells, and went on to become the basis for all ensuing life on the planet. The beginning of life (and for that matter, its subsequent history) was far messier than that. And the fact that it seems to have appeared about as soon as the planet could support it hints that it's probably not all that unique.
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Old 13th April 2019, 12:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
For that matter, they continued to intermingle genetic material after forming cells. Once there were cells, it probably took some time to develop the molecular machinery needed to produce a reliably replicating one-cell, one-genome system, and even that didn't stop the mingling. Even puddles of chemistry that eventually developed that pattern likely built on the debris of earlier false starts and dead-ends that didn't sustain replication themselves but left their mark anyway.

It's not like there was a single molecule that started replicating in a lifeless pond, formed cells, and went on to become the basis for all ensuing life on the planet. The beginning of life (and for that matter, its subsequent history) was far messier than that. And the fact that it seems to have appeared about as soon as the planet could support it hints that it's probably not all that unique.
If conditions were so favourable it should have involved independent origin in far flung locations on the planet, and a gradual meeting of competing forms. This makes the one common ancestor problematic in my view. I am considering simple logic here.
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Old 13th April 2019, 02:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
If conditions were so favourable it should have involved independent origin in far flung locations on the planet, and a gradual meeting of competing forms.
It'd be quite easy for the relative timescales of development of life and colonization of the globe to be such that that didn't happen, but even if it wasn't...so what? There's no indication that isn't exactly what happened.


Originally Posted by Samson View Post
This makes the one common ancestor problematic in my view. I am considering simple logic here.
"X implies Y, where Y is an outcome I dislike, therefore not X" is not a logical argument.
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Old 13th April 2019, 02:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
This article amused me

https://phys.org/news/2019-04-earlie...ds-oceans.html

Earliest life may have arisen in ponds, not oceans

Since there is one common molecular ancestor for all life on earth, and thus probably in the universe, this should read

Earliest life may have arisen in pond not ocean.
So in all the universe there is only one example not merely of intelligent life forms, but even of the appearance of microscopic pond life. If you think it probable that this happened only once in the universe. It goes without saying that you think it happened in only one pond in the single planet in which life began.

It happened only on Earth out of the untold billions of planets in the universe. But on earth it happened in lots of different places. That doesn't make sense.

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Old 13th April 2019, 02:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
I don't follow, I posted the link.
People keep suggesting that one self replicating molecule ate the competitors, with no evidence the competitors ever existed.
People where? Show your work.

And yes, people develop competing theories about things that happened billions of years ago. Then they test them, often indirectly. The MIT study suggests that nitrogen availability in the ocean has been overestimated. Someone else will come along to poke holes in the MIT theory. It's one small piece in a vast puzzle.
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Old 13th April 2019, 02:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
So in all the universe there is only one example not merely of intelligent life forms, but even of the appearance of microscopic pond life. If you think it probable that this happened only once in the universe. It goes without saying that you think it happened in only one pond in the single planet in which life began.

It happened only on Earth out of the untold billions of planets in the universe. But on earth it happened in lots of different places. That doesn't make sense.
I think he's mocking the "one common ancestor" claim.
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Old 13th April 2019, 02:53 PM   #12
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This is another one of those subjects that is incredibly complex and people not familiar with the science think of it like one might see engineering in baby block terms.

How many times did multicellularity evolve?

This is a webpage of multiple forum inputs worth skimming to get an idea of just how complicated 'abiogenesis to single common ancestor' actually was.
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Old 13th April 2019, 04:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Posting the link was a good thing. Your commentary, especially your apparent amusement at what you think is a mistake, is wrong.

We have evidence of a single common DNA based ancestor, we don't have evidence of a single common molecular ancestor. There is no reason to think that "pond" is more accurate than "ponds".

There is also no support at all for life being singular in the universe. I think scientific opinion would be the opposite, that at least bacterial life is common. That would be largely based on how fast it showed up on Earth. Complicated and even intelligent life is another matter. Opinion is largely divided there.
This.

Geologically speaking, life appeared on the earth at almost the very instant it was possible for it to survive on earth.

The earth is about 4.54 billion years old, and while the earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates from about 3.5 bya, there is plenty of research that points to a much earlier beginning, as little as half a million years after its formation.

https://phys.org/news/2018-08-timesc...ife-earth.html

"....we were able to show that the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all cellular life forms, 'LUCA', existed very early in Earth's history, almost 4.5 Billion years ago—not long after Earth was impacted by the planet Theia, the event which sterilised Earth and led to the formation of the Moon.

"This is significantly earlier than the currently accepted oldest fossil evidence would suggest."


If life really did come like a shot to the earth shortly after its formation, then in all likelihood, the same processes may have delivered life to other planets in our solar system; Venus, Mars, Europa, Callisto, even Titan. Also, since we are very sure that solar systems form generally in the same way, by accretion where planets begin as dust grains in orbit around the central protostar, it stands to reason that those same processes are likely to have occurred on planets around other stars.

And how do we know that accretion is not something peculiar to the way our solar system was formed from the pro-sun?
Because we see it happening around other protostars?


ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) image
of the accretion disk around the protostar HL Tauri
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Old 14th April 2019, 06:42 AM   #14
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Please, please send probes with drills and fishing rods to Europa, Enceladus and Titan in my time! (I wouldn't know what to use as bait, though.)
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Old 14th April 2019, 12:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Please, please send probes with drills and fishing rods to Europa, Enceladus and Titan in my time! (I wouldn't know what to use as bait, though.)
"The Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe found dunes, river valleys, and lakes of liquid methane and ethane on Titan. Says Cable: “As a chemist, that really fascinates me, because any life we might find in these liquid bodies would be very, very different from the life we know on Earth.”

For one thing, she notes, it could not be based on the DNA that encodes the countless traits of creatures on Earth. DNA can dissolve in water because both are electrically polar molecules. However, methane and ethane are both nonpolar, so any analogous molecule for methane-based creatures would have to be nonpolar and, presumably, very large. A few researchers, notably Steven A. Benner of the Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology, have begun trying to conceive of such a molecule, but it has proven elusive."


Which makes me wonder... if there was life in Titan, could we recognize it as life? Could it be so different that we cannot recognise it?
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Old 14th April 2019, 01:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
"The Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe found dunes, river valleys, and lakes of liquid methane and ethane on Titan. Says Cable: “As a chemist, that really fascinates me, because any life we might find in these liquid bodies would be very, very different from the life we know on Earth.”

For one thing, she notes, it could not be based on the DNA that encodes the countless traits of creatures on Earth. DNA can dissolve in water because both are electrically polar molecules. However, methane and ethane are both nonpolar, so any analogous molecule for methane-based creatures would have to be nonpolar and, presumably, very large. A few researchers, notably Steven A. Benner of the Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology, have begun trying to conceive of such a molecule, but it has proven elusive."


Which makes me wonder... if there was life in Titan, could we recognize it as life? Could it be so different that we cannot recognise it?
At the moment, we'd have no real idea how life there would be possible, so if it exists on Titan, we'd have a pretty hard time identifying it.

To elaborate, organic life requires molecules to be able to move and change shape. But at the temperature of Titan anything more complex than Ethane will be a solid and thus unable to perform that basic function. That makes the chances for a carbon based lifeform extremely low. So if there is something alive down there, there is a good chance we won't recognize it.

As mentioned upthread though, the oceans under the ice moons of Jupiter and Saturn are a good bet to find organic lifeforms.
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Old 14th April 2019, 01:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
"The Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe found dunes, river valleys, and lakes of liquid methane and ethane on Titan. Says Cable: “As a chemist, that really fascinates me, because any life we might find in these liquid bodies would be very, very different from the life we know on Earth.”

For one thing, she notes, it could not be based on the DNA that encodes the countless traits of creatures on Earth. DNA can dissolve in water because both are electrically polar molecules. However, methane and ethane are both nonpolar, so any analogous molecule for methane-based creatures would have to be nonpolar and, presumably, very large. A few researchers, notably Steven A. Benner of the Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology, have begun trying to conceive of such a molecule, but it has proven elusive."


Which makes me wonder... if there was life in Titan, could we recognize it as life? Could it be so different that we cannot recognise it?
Any form of life is going to affect its environment in various attention-getting ways. It's just a matter of studying the activity to determine if it's abiotic or prebiotic chemistry or something that qualifies as life. Any shortcomings seem likely to be more with our definitions than with our ability to recognize life.
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Old 14th April 2019, 01:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
"The Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe found dunes, river valleys, and lakes of liquid methane and ethane on Titan. Says Cable: “As a chemist, that really fascinates me, because any life we might find in these liquid bodies would be very, very different from the life we know on Earth.”

For one thing, she notes, it could not be based on the DNA that encodes the countless traits of creatures on Earth. DNA can dissolve in water because both are electrically polar molecules. However, methane and ethane are both nonpolar, so any analogous molecule for methane-based creatures would have to be nonpolar and, presumably, very large. A few researchers, notably Steven A. Benner of the Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology, have begun trying to conceive of such a molecule, but it has proven elusive."


Which makes me wonder... if there was life in Titan, could we recognize it as life? Could it be so different that we cannot recognise it?

But there are other "liquid bodies" than those. The article I linked to also says:
"Titan, the second biggest moon in the solar system, appears to have a coating of organic molecules, covering a crust of ice, above a liquid-water ocean. It has an atmosphere that is mostly nitrogen and so thick that “if you had wings, and you flapped those wings, you could fly,” Cable points out."
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Old 14th April 2019, 02:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Please, please send probes with drills and fishing rods to Europa, Enceladus and Titan in my time! (I wouldn't know what to use as bait, though.)
Ripley.

Or possibly Newt
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Old 14th April 2019, 02:48 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
Ripley.



Or possibly Newt
Certainly would be a test of intelligence, if the life form isn't terrified by a white, blond, cute, orphan little girl it ain't intelligent.
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Old 14th April 2019, 05:27 PM   #21
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Life came from within the earth.

See thread.
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Old 14th April 2019, 05:47 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Which makes me wonder... if there was life in Titan, could we recognize it as life? Could it be so different that we cannot recognise it?

Recognize life on Titan? I don't even talk to my sister.


Originally Posted by Venom View Post
Life came from within the earth.

... for certain very narrow definitions of "within." Scientists have observed signs of life at 5 km deep. It's 6,371 km to the center of the earth. The crust is, relatively, thinner than the skin of an apple.
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Old 14th April 2019, 08:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
... for certain very narrow definitions of "within." Scientists have observed signs of life at 5 km deep. It's 6,371 km to the center of the earth. The crust is, relatively, thinner than the skin of an apple.
The continental crust of the Earth is 30-50km thick... 5 km is only 1/6th to 1/10th of the way through that bit!

The deepest known volcanic "hydrothermal" vent with tube worms is 5 kilometres down. At that depth the pressure is about 500 atmospheres; about 3½ tons per square inch!
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Old 16th April 2019, 09:29 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Since there is one common molecular ancestor for all life on earth, and thus probably in the universe, this should read

Earliest life may have arisen in pond not ocean.
Not right, Samson. What we know is that the current species that we have found on Earth have the DNA molecule in common. Thus there is a one common molecular ancestor for those species. That does not rule out life beginning with a different DNA-analog either on Earth and especially on other planets. They just did not survive to modern times on Earth. They may still exist elsewhere. There is no reason to believe that DNA based life started in a single pond when there would be many ponds with similar chances of life rising.

The title Earliest life may have arisen in ponds, not oceans is correct.

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Old 17th April 2019, 07:02 AM   #25
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Matrix?
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Old 17th April 2019, 07:25 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Gingervytes View Post
Matrix?
Terminator?

What's your question?
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Old 17th April 2019, 01:27 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Terminator?
Colossus
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Old 18th April 2019, 08:55 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Colossus
Finally, the answer to the big questions.
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Old 18th May 2019, 03:57 PM   #29
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Maybe watching this nice video will help quell the optimists and encourage mankind to freeze and quickly reverse population numbers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqEmYU8Y_rI

We are diamonds.
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Old 18th May 2019, 05:32 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Maybe watching this nice video will help quell the optimists and encourage mankind to freeze and quickly reverse population numbers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqEmYU8Y_rI
Nice bit of pseudo-science fiction.

Originally Posted by Samson View Post
We are diamonds.
If so, then life is everywhere throughout the universe... Diamond is as common as muck.
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Old 18th May 2019, 05:45 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Nice bit of pseudo-science fiction.



If so, then life is everywhere throughout the universe... Diamond is as common as muck.
At the end of the video he explains, there is some existential obligation to preserve life.
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Old 19th May 2019, 01:51 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
At the end of the video he explains, there is some existential obligation to preserve life.
As there should be, but it has little to do with whether or not there is life anywhere else in the universe.

Let me put it this way.

IMO, it is extremely unlikely that in the whole of the rest of the universe, there is there is no life at all. The Miller-Urey experiment demonstrated that in the primordial soup that was known to exist early in the solar system, organic compounds, the precursors to life, would be formed spontaneously. This dramatically increases the odds for abiogensis.

We also know from the extremophiles we have right here on this planet, that life can arise and survive, and indeed thrive in the most inhospitable places, places where there is no light, no free oxygen, huge pressure and very high temperatures; conditions that may even be more inhospitable that those we might find elsewhere on the planets and moons of our solar system.

But even if this is the case, the chances are that intelligent life is rare, and unless we are very, very fortunate, there won't be any intelligent life near enough for us to contact in our human existence. For all intents and purposes, from our perspective, we are probably alone... we will probably never directly meet an intelligent alien species.

Therefore, yes, we have a responsibility, an obligation to preserve our species. At the moment, we are not doing a very good job of it.
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Old 21st May 2019, 11:25 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
As there should be, but it has little to do with whether or not there is life anywhere else in the universe.

Let me put it this way.

IMO, it is extremely unlikely that in the whole of the rest of the universe, there is there is no life at all. The Miller-Urey experiment demonstrated that in the primordial soup that was known to exist early in the solar system, organic compounds, the precursors to life, would be formed spontaneously. This dramatically increases the odds for abiogensis.

We also know from the extremophiles we have right here on this planet, that life can arise and survive, and indeed thrive in the most inhospitable places, places where there is no light, no free oxygen, huge pressure and very high temperatures; conditions that may even be more inhospitable that those we might find elsewhere on the planets and moons of our solar system.

But even if this is the case, the chances are that intelligent life is rare, and unless we are very, very fortunate, there won't be any intelligent life near enough for us to contact in our human existence. For all intents and purposes, from our perspective, we are probably alone... we will probably never directly meet an intelligent alien species.

Therefore, yes, we have a responsibility, an obligation to preserve our species. At the moment, we are not doing a very good job of it.
So here we go, a fascinating take on necessary but vanishingly unlikely preconditions.

https://phys.org/news/2019-05-format...ght-earth.html

"Planetologists at the University of Münster (Germany) have now been able to show, for the first time, that water came to Earth with the formation of the Moon some 4.4 billion years ago. The Moon was formed when Earth was hit by a body about the size of Mars, also called Theia. Until now, scientists had assumed that Theia originated in the inner solar system near the Earth. However, researchers from Münster can now show that Theia comes from the outer solar system, and it delivered large quantities of water to Earth. The results are published in the current issue of Nature Astronomy."
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Old 22nd May 2019, 12:49 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
So here we go, a fascinating take on necessary but vanishingly unlikely preconditions.

https://phys.org/news/2019-05-format...ght-earth.html

"Planetologists at the University of Münster (Germany) have now been able to show, for the first time, that water came to Earth with the formation of the Moon some 4.4 billion years ago. The Moon was formed when Earth was hit by a body about the size of Mars, also called Theia. Until now, scientists had assumed that Theia originated in the inner solar system near the Earth. However, researchers from Münster can now show that Theia comes from the outer solar system, and it delivered large quantities of water to Earth. The results are published in the current issue of Nature Astronomy."
Interesting, but ultimately, it would not account for the water delivered to Mars, Venus and Mercury - how did Theia do that? Also, the theory does not state or claim that Theia was the only source of water delivered to the Earth during the Hadean Era.

The answer is, of course, that even if Theia did deliver water, it was simply one of multiple sources, another of which was the Late Heavy Bombardment of 3.9 BYA, and only 500,000 years after the Theia impact. It is much easier to understand the mechanics of multiple impacts of various sizes, of bodies from the outer solar system, delivering water over the period of the LHB (20 to 200 million years) than it is to understand how such a delivery might occur from a single, massive impact.

Here is another point. I don't think the formation of a moon from the impact of two large bodies in the inner region of the solar system is as rare as you might think. In the early formation of the Solar System there would have been planet sized chunks of material flying in all directions, like the balls on a cosmic pool table. Of the four terrestrial planets in our system it seems likely that TWO of them suffered such impacts; Earth and Mars. There is evidence of an enormous impact basin in Mars' northern hemisphere, spanning 10,600 by 8,500 km. There is currently a theory that its was struck by a Pluto-sized body about 4 BYA, and this is what caused the Martian hemispheric dichotomy and created the smooth Borealis basin that covers 40% of the planet. It was a glancing blow - had the timing been different, that blow might have been more square on, and Mars might have had a bigger moon.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 03:42 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Interesting, but ultimately, it would not account for the water delivered to Mars, Venus and Mercury - how did Theia do that? Also, the theory does not state or claim that Theia was the only source of water delivered to the Earth during the Hadean Era.

The answer is, of course, that even if Theia did deliver water, it was simply one of multiple sources, another of which was the Late Heavy Bombardment of 3.9 BYA, and only 500,000 years after the Theia impact. It is much easier to understand the mechanics of multiple impacts of various sizes, of bodies from the outer solar system, delivering water over the period of the LHB (20 to 200 million years) than it is to understand how such a delivery might occur from a single, massive impact.

Here is another point. I don't think the formation of a moon from the impact of two large bodies in the inner region of the solar system is as rare as you might think. In the early formation of the Solar System there would have been planet sized chunks of material flying in all directions, like the balls on a cosmic pool table. Of the four terrestrial planets in our system it seems likely that TWO of them suffered such impacts; Earth and Mars. There is evidence of an enormous impact basin in Mars' northern hemisphere, spanning 10,600 by 8,500 km. There is currently a theory that its was struck by a Pluto-sized body about 4 BYA, and this is what caused the Martian hemispheric dichotomy and created the smooth Borealis basin that covers 40% of the planet. It was a glancing blow - had the timing been different, that blow might have been more square on, and Mars might have had a bigger moon.
Without addressing the propensity in our neighbourhood for collisions, I am seeing an almost prohibitively low chance of collisions any where. Even black holes seem to orbit in ever decreasing circles for billions of years.
This Theia encounter may be one in sextillion which gives rise to our discussion and our Descartion presence.
But there are two discussions.
1. Is there intelligent life elsewhere?
2. Is there any life elsewhere?

ETA more reading of your post requires further discussion, beyond my paygrade right now, but all this talk of collisions seems a conflation of statistical events.

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Old 22nd May 2019, 04:11 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Without addressing the propensity in our neighbourhood for collisions, I am seeing an almost prohibitively low chance of collisions any where.
What do you mean? Collisions happen all the time.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 05:05 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
What do you mean? Collisions happen all the time.
Indeed they do, and they have.

Samson is thinking in terns of humans on earth; we haven't seen many; but that is an infinitesimally tiny fraction of cosmic time. Its the old story; if the existence of the Universe is reduced down to a year, with the Big Bang in the first second of January 1st, the Solar System doesn't appear until August, and the whole of humanity doesn't appear until the last minute before midnight on December 31st.

The fact is that all of the planets, moons and asteroids of the Solar System were formed by collisions... millions upon millions upon millions of them, and they were hugely frequent in the first billion years after the ignition of the proto-sun in our Solar Nebula..
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Old 22nd May 2019, 12:47 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
... and the whole of humanity doesn't appear until the last minute before midnight on December 31st.
Actually humans show up about 10 PM. But all of recorded human history happens in the last minute.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 01:06 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post



Earliest life may have arisen in ponds, not oceans

Since there is one common molecular ancestor for all life on earth, and thus probably in the universe, this should read


Earliest life may have arisen in pond not ocean.
The molecules that became the earliest life may have been replicating and evolving in ponds and oceanss and many other places before they became life.

This may not have been a single molecule with, it may have involved many molecules with multiple origins that at various points combined, split or exchanged sequences

The point at which they combined in a way we would consider to be life would not be easily identifiable and may well have occurred multiple times using similar sets of pre-living self replicating molecules.


Think about it in the context of modern day viruses. It's not entirely clear if they are living or not. They commonly exchange genetic sequences with completely different viruses but there is not even a single genetic sequence shared by all viruses so they definitively cannot be traced back to a single common origin, a new virus could have appeared from thin air 200 years ago and we would have no way to identify it's recent origin.

These should give you at least a point of reference to how complex pre-living chemicals could have been. In fact they would have needed to be more complex because viruses lack the machinery to replicate on their own.

Anyway, the point is that there probably was no single moment that could be pointed to as the origin of life. The origin of life is more likely to be a process taking place over very long periods of time than a single event.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 02:17 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
These should give you at least a point of reference to how complex pre-living chemicals could have been. In fact they would have needed to be more complex because viruses lack the machinery to replicate on their own.

Anyway, the point is that there probably was no single moment that could be pointed to as the origin of life. The origin of life is more likely to be a process taking place over very long periods of time than a single event.
And if life was a result of multiple different processes all going on at the same time, many of them may have come to nothing - dead ends, just like evolution, but the multiplicity of different processes make it more likely that one of them will ultimately lead to life.

I do not believe that life is a rare thing in the Universe; that only begins on one in several billion billion worlds. Even on this planet, we see that life can exist and a huge range of conditions, from boiling hot to well below freezing, from ample oxygen to no oxygen at all, from blinding daylight to no light at all, from near vacuum to pressures measured in tonnes per square inch.

If it is correct that when planets are formed, that the conditions for the beginning of life (the primordial soup) exist very soon afterwards - then IMO, life begins like a shot! Even if we only discover that life began on Mars, and was then extinguished, it will be the single, most impactful moment in the history of science; it will show that we were not the only ones, and if it happened right next door, its likely to have happened everywhere.
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