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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > "Life-Forming Chemicals Found in Distant Galaxy"

"Life-Forming Chemicals Found in Distant Galaxy"
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LegendaryPinkOx
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Jan 18, 2008, 01:49 PM
 
Discovery News : Discovery Channel

The discovery, which was unveiled at the American Astronomical Society conference in Austin, Texas, last week, is significant because methanimine and hydrogen cyanide are building blocks for amino acids, the foundation of life.

"Methanimine has barely been seen in our own galaxy," Arecibo astronomer Christopher Salter told Discovery News. "Nobody had looked for it in deep space."

....

Scientists are now combing through their data to see if they can detect the simplest amino acid, glycine, which forms when methanimine and hydrogen cyanide are combined with water.

"The fact that we can observe these substances at such a vast distance means that there are huge amounts of them in Arp 220," said Emmanuel Momjian, a former Arecibo astronomer, now at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, N.M.

"It is very intriguing to find that the ingredients of life appear in large quantities where new stars and planets are born."
Neat! Could it be when a galaxy is formed that these life forming elements are dispersed throughout, but only those that land in the just right conditions fruit into life, like a dandelion blown in the wind? Nah, but cool thought none the less.
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Jan 18, 2008, 01:52 PM
 
Very cool. Hopefully we don't get any knee-jerk reactions from this discovery. (On either side)
     
reader50
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Jan 18, 2008, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Emmanuel Momjian
The fact that we can observe these substances at such a vast distance means that there are huge amounts of them in Arp 220 ...
It's a pity he didn't say it was Aarp 220, because that would have been most interesting. It's still interesting, even without the suggestive name.
     
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Jan 18, 2008, 02:22 PM
 
Cool news. However one major flaw I see is that scientists always assume that life elsewhere is similar to what we find here on earth. That's all we have to work with, of course, so I can't really blame the scientists.
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design219
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Jan 18, 2008, 02:33 PM
 
You know, someday a fascinating form of intelligent life will be found in a star system named Myrtle Meredith Adalbert.


Damn you National Star Registry!
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olePigeon
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Jan 18, 2008, 02:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by design219 View Post
You know, someday a fascinating form of intelligent life will be found in a star system named Myrtle Meredith Adalbert.


Damn you National Star Registry!
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), not the ISR, has the internationally recognized authority to name and designate newly discovered stars, planets, asteroids, comets, and other heavenly bodies. The IAU's nomenclature, not the ISR's, is the one used by professional and amateur astronomers all over the world. It is not for sale.
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design219
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Jan 18, 2008, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
The IAU's nomenclature, not the ISR's, is the one used by professional and amateur astronomers all over the world. It is not for sale.
You hear that? YOU HEAR THAT?

The sound of thousands and thousands of individuals screaming at their lost glory.

Thank you very much.
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Dale Sorel
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Jan 18, 2008, 05:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by LegendaryPinkOx View Post
...but only those that land in the just right conditions fruit into life
Maybe you want to share with us just how that happens
     
design219
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Jan 18, 2008, 05:40 PM
 
Shall we pick this up in the Political/War Lounge?
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C.A.T.S. CEO
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Jan 18, 2008, 05:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dale Sorel View Post
Maybe you want to share with us just how that happens
It falls onto a planet that can support life?
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LegendaryPinkOx  (op)
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Jan 18, 2008, 05:49 PM
 
I'm not sure this is right place for such discussions, and I'm not sure anyone is certain in what fashion amino acids decided to organise themselves into double-helixes. I was merely making a wide-eyed lash into the realm of fantasy, which may not be that fantastic after this discovery. Still I acknowlage that many on this board may not believe that life began through chemical reactions; they just won't be able to share my enthusiasm.
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LegendaryPinkOx  (op)
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Jan 18, 2008, 05:56 PM
 
But if you guys want to move it to the PL by all means go for it.
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imitchellg5
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Jan 19, 2008, 12:48 AM
 
ZOMFG1!ONE!1 Teh alienz is coming1

Wouldn't there possibly be an infinite number of galaxies and solar systems with this stuff?
     
IceEnclosure
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Jan 19, 2008, 02:04 AM
 
Why the **** does this, and other scientific threads seem to go to the political lounge? Is this political?

Really, I don't go in there, so I don't get to read about chemicals found in the galaxy? Is Rush Limbaugh or Al Gore involved in this? No.

Keep this in the lounge, the Poli-lounge smells like goddamned fish.
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LegendaryPinkOx  (op)
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Jan 19, 2008, 02:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure View Post
the Poli-lounge smells like goddamned fish.
Amen!
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design219
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Jan 19, 2008, 08:32 AM
 
Agreed. I was smelling a little creationism creeping in. If someone want to debate that, please start a new thread in the poli-lounge.
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Jan 20, 2008, 03:45 AM
 
God created monkeys, and he gave an infinite number of monkeys an infinite amount of amino acids, and one of them created the double helix.
     
Apemanblues
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Jan 20, 2008, 09:42 AM
 
Cool news.

As far as abiogenisis goes, the constituent parts of the puzzle are understood and I wouldn't be surprised if a coherent and robust theory of abiogenesis emerges within our lifetime. The gaps between polynucleotides, RNA and DNA are closing (yay montmorillonite!), as is the understanding of how lipid cells may become more complex through adaptation. After that, evolution by natural selection takes over and that's the story of life.

They've got lots of work to do, of course, but perhaps the scientists working on abiogenesis are still awaiting their own version of Darwin. Keep watching the science pages, these are exciting times.
( Last edited by Apemanblues; Jan 20, 2008 at 01:01 PM. )
     
Dale Sorel
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Jan 20, 2008, 01:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by C.A.T.S. CEO View Post
It falls onto a planet that can support life?
And without any life existant, that is...?
     
LegendaryPinkOx  (op)
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Jan 20, 2008, 07:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dale Sorel View Post
And without any life existant, that is...?
I'm not sure what your getting at here. But in the event you're not trying to start a religious/political debate, (which as many before have stated, belongs in the political lounge, not here) A planet capable of sustaining life as we know it would require:

-water
-nitrogen
-ammonia
-carbon
-temperatures ranging from 0°C to around 121°C

-Edit-....

Iron core/ Magnetic field - important to block radiation that can devistate DNA

This should support what we would call extremophilic life forms. Notice, not even sunlight is necessary, as in the case of archaea which thrive on the ocean floor near volcanic vents.

If any biology majors want to chime in in case I screwed up please do

(If a creationism/evolution debate breaks out, kill this thread immeadiately! thank you)
( Last edited by LegendaryPinkOx; Jan 20, 2008 at 08:15 PM. )
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Jan 20, 2008, 08:02 PM
 
Interesting .. because the same scientists fail to discover life in our own solar system !
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LegendaryPinkOx  (op)
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Jan 20, 2008, 08:12 PM
 
Much can happen over 250 million years! Because this galaxy is 250 million light years away, when we see it through our spectrometers, we are seeing it as it was 250 million years ago, and who knows, it could be a very young galaxy. Perhaps at one point, our galaxy was riddled with life producing chemicals, but over the billions of years they broke down (cosmic radiation and such) Only those chemicals which were lucky enough to land on a rock with the afformentioned substances were able to gain a foothold and create life!

Disclaimer - this is all very hypothetical here.
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Jan 20, 2008, 09:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dale Sorel View Post
And without any life existant, that is...?
Habitable zone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Dale Sorel
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Jan 20, 2008, 09:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by LegendaryPinkOx View Post
A planet capable of sustaining life as we know it would require:
That's my point exactly. Without the model of what exists on this planet how do we know what needs to exist in order to support life. And don't forget, the model for life that we enjoy here could be just one of many out there.
     
red rocket
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Jan 22, 2008, 07:52 AM
 
Exactly. There could be all kinds of life on all sorts of planets, stars and even in space itself, which humans wouldn't be able to recognise because it doesn't fall within their xenophobic little definition of what constitutes ‘life’.
     
   
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