Building Blocks of Life in Space

By | July 27, 2006

This is pretty interesting:

Pre-life molecules present in comets from
Evidence of atomic nitrogen in interstellar gas clouds suggests that pre-life molecules may be present in comets, a discovery that gives a clue about the early conditions that gave rise to life, according to researchers from the University of Michigan and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Scientific American did a related piece a while back, although apparently what’s being suggested here isn’t panspermia per se, but rather just the notion that deep space might have a role to play in developing what’s needed for life on Earth.

  • Stephen Gordon


    This reminds me of the discussion we had awhile back…

    …about the Fermi paradox.

    I still side with Kurzweil. We’re probably alone in this galaxy. Sure their may be plenty of organic molecules seeded throughout the galaxy, microbes might be common, but so many things have to go right for intelligent life to arise.

  • Karl Hallowell

    OTOH, I see the point of promoting isolation from the alien point of view. I imagine it takes a lot less or perhaps more specialized technology to break things than it does to protect things from being broken. Ie, the barbarian problem which has cropped up on Earth again and again.

    It may turn out to be relatively easy to build a large enough black hole or other extremely dense object and destroy stars and planets. Who wants to risk getting into that kind of fight?

    And Earth is still capable of doubling in population ever 20-50 years, if we so chose. On Earth, we’re self-contained. Even if we’re contained to the Solar System, the system will naturally regulate the human population. But if we’re moving among the stars, that means that things are out of control, at least at the level of the galaxy.