Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Lost City" Hints At Life On Moons Of Jupiter And Saturn Say Scientists

How did life on Earth get started? Three new papers co-authored by Mike Russell, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., strengthen the case that Earth's first life began at alkaline hydrothermal vents at the bottom of oceans. Scientists are interested in understanding early life on Earth because if we ever hope to find life on other worlds -- especially icy worlds with subsurface oceans such as Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus -- we need to know what chemical signatures to look for. 

This image from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean shows a collection of limestone towers known as the "Lost City." Alkaline hydrothermal vents of this type are suggested to be the birthplace of the first living organisms on the ancient Earth. Scientists are interested in understanding early life on Earth because if we ever hope to find life on other worlds - especially icy worlds with subsurface oceans such as Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's Enceladus - we need to know what chemical signatures to look for. 
This image from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean shows a collection of limestone towers known as the 'Lost City.'
Image courtesy D. Kelley and M. Elend/University of Washington

Two papers published recently in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B provide more detail on the chemical and precursor metabolic reactions that have to take place to pave the pathway for life. Russell and his co-authors describe how the interactions between the earliest oceans and alkaline hydrothermal fluids likely produced acetate (comparable to vinegar). 

The acetate is a product of methane and hydrogen from the alkaline hydrothermal vents and carbon dioxide dissolved in the surrounding ocean. Once this early chemical pathway was forged, acetate could become the basis of other biological molecules. They also describe how two kinds of "nano-engines" that create organic carbon and polymers -- energy currency of the first cells -- could have been assembled from inorganic minerals.

A paper published in the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta analyzes the structural similarity between the most ancient enzymes of life and minerals precipitated at these alkaline vents, an indication that the first life didn't have to invent its first catalysts and engines.

"Our work on alkaline hot springs on the ocean floor makes what we believe is the most plausible case for the origin of the life's building blocks and its energy supply," Russell said. "Our hypothesis is testable, has the right assortment of ingredients and obeys the laws of thermodynamics."

Russell's work was funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute through the Icy Worlds team based at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. The NASA Astrobiology Institute, based at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., is a partnership among NASA, 15 U.S. teams and 13 international consortia. The Institute is part of NASA's astrobiology program, which supports research into the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life on Earth and the potential for life elsewhere.

Contacts ad sources:
Jia-Rui C. Cook
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

1 comment:

  1. The very space-time concept, on which theories of relativity are founded, has been mathematically, theoretically & experimentally proved as baseless and openly challenged on the basis of published scientific articles. Since the very space-time concept has been proved as baseless the question of curvature of space-time being correct does not arise. Gravity has been shown to be an electromagnetic force as foreseen by Maxwell due to the curl/vortices of aether (the electric dipoles) in the published article 'Revised Foundation of Theory of Everything: Non-living Things & Living Things' (www.indjst.org; Sep 2010) Revised version of this article is available on vixra & World Science Database in my profile. Open challenge could seen at http://www.worldsci.org/php/index.php?tab0=Abstracts&tab1=Display&id=6476&tab=2 and http://www.gsjournal.net/Science-Journals/Essays/View/4018 .

    World should force all the physicists of the world to join to accept the standing open challenge (against the foundation of materialism at social, political & scientific level) and produce the rebuttal article to the scientific articles on the basis of which open challenge has been put forward; the very well known & only accepted procedure of denying the scientific findings published in peer-reviewed journals.

    However for the information of all I would like to state here that every concerned physicist of the world is in total knowledge of the open challenge and they also know that they.
    can do nothing about it technically & scientifically. They would have easily accepted the alternative paradigm of physics which emerges as the consequence of my scientific publications but that would reduce their degrees to trash and they will have to quit their jobs on the basis of morality. Besides there is fund flow of trillions of dollars annually for research in thousands of research institutions all over the world and once world comes to know that all these institutions have been knowingly wasting trillions of dollars of public money; then many (millions) heads would have to role.

    Thus all the main-stream physicists are maintaining a deliberate silence and ignorance of the open challenge but how long they can deceive the world as I have taken a vow that I will take this whole issue to its logical conclusion.

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