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Life’s ingredients may have ‘s prinkled’ on Earth

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  • derhexer@aol.com
    URL to an article in MSNBC _http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/_ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/) This is not a new idea. Fred
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 11, 2007
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      URL to an article in MSNBC
      _http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/_
      (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/)

      This is not a new idea. Fred Hoyle and Chandr Wickramsinghe proposed it in
      their 1978 Lifecloud, and I recall that Gregory Benford used it in his
      Galactic Center series


      First few paragraphs
      "

      By Dave Mosher


      Updated: 10:52 a.m. CT Sept 11, 2007


      Some crucial ingredients for life on Earth may have formed in interstellar
      space, rather than on the planet's surface.
      A new computer model indicates clouds of adenine molecules, a basic
      component of _DNA_ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/#) , can form and
      survive the harsh conditions of space, and possibly sprinkle _onto planets_
      (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/extrasolar_planets.html) as the stars
      they orbit travel through a _galaxy_
      (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/#) .
      "There may be only a few molecules of adenine per square foot of space, but
      over millions of years, enough could have accumulated to help _make way for
      life_ (http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070822_gm_life_origins.html) ,"
      said study co-author Rainer Glaser, a molecular _chemist_
      (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/#) at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

      _Story continues below ↓_
      (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20724322/from/RS.3/#storyContinued)
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      Glaser and his team's findings are detailed in a recent issue of the journal
      Astrobiology.
      Spacey chemistry
      Adenine is one of four "letters" of DNA's alphabet used to store an
      organism's genetic code. Glaser said the idea that large, two-ringed organic
      molecules like adenine formed in space may seem outrageous, but current evidence
      leaves the possibility wide open.
      "You can find large molecules _in meteorites_
      (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070816_life_comets.html) , including adenine," Glaser said. "We know
      that adenine can be made elsewhere in the solar system, so why should one
      consider it impossible to make the building blocks somewhere in interstellar
      dust?"
      Using computer simulations of the cold vacuum of space, Glaser and his
      colleagues found that hydrogen cyanide gas can build adenine. Like pieces in a set
      of tinker toys, hydrogen cyanide serves as adenine's building blocks; the
      small molecules bond together into chains and, with a little wiggling,
      eventually assemble into rings.
      Although adenine's first ring needs a tiny energy boost from starlight to
      form, Glaser said the second ring of the molecule self-assembles without any
      outside help."

      Chris

      ("The Dude Abides")




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