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Two dust particles from the Murchison meteorite which fell to Earth in Australia in 1969.  (Source: Argonne National Laboratory, Department of Energy)
New evidence suggests that basic life really may have come from the stars.

It has long been thought that the seeds for life came to a primordial Earth from solar system leftovers crashing into the planet. These meteorites, comets, or other unknowns may have contained vital components with which budding life on Earth either assimilated or used as a catalyst to create itself. Now, in a paper to be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, European scientists claim they have evidence to prove the theory may be correct.

The group, based at Imperial College London, found some of the base building blocks for life, nucleobases, in dust from the Murchison meteorite which fell to Earth in 1969. Nucleobases, in this case uracil and xanthine, are the components that make up two of the most important parts of any Earth-bound life form, DNA and RNA.

In order to confirm that these molecules weren't from simple contamination, the researchers analyzed the individual atoms of the nucleobases. They found the carbon contained within was a heavier breed that what forms naturally on Earth. The molecules must have come from space.

Professor Mark Sephton, a co-author of the paper states “Because meteorites represent left over materials from the formation of the solar system, the key components for life -- including nucleobases -- could be widespread in the cosmos. As more and more of life’s raw materials are discovered in objects from space, the possibility of life springing forth wherever the right chemistry is present becomes more likely.”

While giving insights on how higher life may have formed on Earth, the finding may also bolster the theory that life may have once existed on a warmer, wetter Mars or a cooler, clearer Venus. NASA hopes to find evidence for such theories by analyzing the ice contained in the soil of the red wasteland that the Mars Phoenix Lander touched down on.

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By BruceLeet on 6/16/2008 6:04:38 AM , Rating: 2
Oh hey I thought we already figured out that the ground we walk on isn't the center of the universe?

Isn't it kind of obvious where we're from? I'm not religious and I don't truly believe in any religion, so take that out of my thought process.

Given the age and the size of the universe as we currently understand it, are we the superior beings or the downfall of intelligent life. Some people must think "look at the things we created", but think deeper than that put your religious beliefs aside, are we digging ourselves into a hole without realizing it, will we humanity suffer by an asteroid? climate change? Is there only one Universe?

This kind of stuff makes me think, could be the wake'n'bake but made me think

RE: Ehhh
By PlasmaBomb on 6/16/2008 6:23:38 AM , Rating: 5
Isn't it kind of obvious where we're from?

Yes, it is blatantly obvious that in the future we play around with physics a bit too much and it goes horribly wrong, creating a time vortex which sends back some organic matter to the early earth.

This then creates life as we know it and results in the biggest paradox in the universe, and essentially means we are our own "God"...

RE: Ehhh
By Mitch101 on 6/16/2008 10:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
All we are is Dust in the Wind Dude!

RE: Ehhh
By deeznuts on 6/16/2008 2:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
whew, I thought you were going to link to Dustin Nguyen!

RE: Ehhh
By GhandiInstinct on 6/16/2008 10:55:18 AM , Rating: 2
The environment on "early earth" could not sustain life as it was too violent and erradic.

RE: Ehhh
By ADDAvenger on 6/16/2008 11:01:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well apparantly not, seeing as we're here and all ;)

RE: Ehhh
By flutedude2005 on 6/16/2008 11:35:12 AM , Rating: 2
YOU'RE too violent and erratic!!!

RE: Ehhh
By overzealot on 6/16/2008 2:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
So's your face!

RE: Ehhh
By eetnoyer on 6/16/2008 6:30:53 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you should change your name to Jack Handey?

RE: Ehhh
By BruceLeet on 6/16/2008 7:07:01 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps, but I never heard of him. I'll Yahoo him.

RE: Ehhh
By MBlueD on 6/16/2008 7:14:32 AM , Rating: 5
Wow! I thought people who Yahoo went extinct!

RE: Ehhh
By BruceLeet on 6/16/2008 7:15:33 AM , Rating: 2
I use Excite too!

They all link to the same stuff though so I dont know what the big deal is.

RE: Ehhh
By tastyratz on 6/16/2008 8:12:19 AM , Rating: 5
oh boy yahoo them.

Why don't you see if anything comes up on Hotbot or Lycos using your $29.95 Netscape Navigator? On the way check your CompuServe or Mindspring email and post on a 28.8 dial in bbs board with that shiny new external us robotics modem. This is of course all while listening to your Alanis Morriset cassette you found using AOL keywords.

RE: Ehhh
By BruceLeet on 6/16/2008 9:34:40 AM , Rating: 3
So definitive, you speak from experience?

RE: Ehhh
By BruceLeet on 6/16/2008 9:40:24 AM , Rating: 4
How do I findan Alanis Morrisette Cassette on AOL?

Isn't it Ironic, dont you think?

RE: Ehhh
By P4blo on 6/17/2008 9:31:53 AM , Rating: 4
Alanis Mirisette has no idea what the word 'ironic' means.

News flash: Rain on your wedding day, isn't ironic :)

RE: Ehhh
By P4blo on 6/17/2008 9:33:11 AM , Rating: 3
Alanis Morrisette even...

RE: Ehhh
By Sunday Ironfoot on 6/16/2008 8:26:50 AM , Rating: 2
I thought people Wikipedia'd things nowadays.

RE: Ehhh
By sporr on 6/16/2008 8:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
I use Google and Wikipedia, typically.

RE: Ehhh
By paydirt on 6/16/2008 9:58:58 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Ehhh
By Wolfpup on 6/16/08, Rating: -1
RE: Ehhh
By Sunrise089 on 6/16/2008 11:21:47 AM , Rating: 3
For hard science/technical date I challenge you to find a single important article with factual information that is incorrect and not a result of quickly-corrected vandalism.

For analysis I will look elsewhere, but for strait facts or information Wikipedia couldn't be less "ruined."

RE: Ehhh
By Flunk on 6/16/08, Rating: 0
RE: Ehhh
By Adonlude on 6/16/2008 4:35:41 PM , Rating: 3
Holy crap people, drifting a bit! Asteriods, universe, life on earth, get back in the game here!

RE: Ehhh
By Ringold on 6/16/2008 7:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
Newspapers have managed to be probably every bit as accurate as your typical Wikipedia article, but does anybody doubt that the New York Times is biased? What about the nightly news? CNN? Fox? They all have the ability to report the same 'hard facts' and spin it the way their bias dictates.

I don't have the ability to speak on other subject matter, but I've been annoyed with their economics related entries for years. They used to have more slanted language and representations, but many entries have become less biased. The trade off is that some have been over simplified in the process or made sufficiently vague as to not be very useful.

They also play the same game as the news channels; like presenting a widely accepted mainstream theory, and citing "criticisms" from crackpots.

Wikipedia is useful as a toy, a quick reference only because no other online source is quite so handy or friendly, but beyond that it is and always will be a slave to the aggregate ideologies of those who oversee it.

The World was made in 7 days.... yeah right
By Dreamwalker on 6/16/2008 5:47:18 AM , Rating: 3
Well, I guess after this discovery and in case of approval, God may have to pack his lugage :D and millions of people will have to find another hobby:P lol

no offence to the HC believers;)

By GaryJohnson on 6/16/2008 8:17:02 AM , Rating: 3
Actually the universe was created last thursday... the FSM just put those nucleobases in that meteorite to test your faith.

RE: The World was made in 7 days.... yeah right
By callmeroy on 6/16/2008 8:56:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well I call myself a christian, be it not a traditional christian (that conjures up visions of someone who never ever dares sway from the perfect straight line in life and has perfect church attendances) I'm a christian in the sense I do believe, I do go to church and I "try" my best to follow the teachings of what many christians adhere too, I do question my faith constantly though which I happen to think is healthy, as I believe that's what keeps it strong.

Now the weird part -- not only do I believe but I'm also a geek for this kind of stuff -- the universe how it all came to be , evolution, etc. I think the logic of science and faith ARE compatible to co-exist with one another.

Ulitmately I'm not shocked at people who mock or don't believe in God or any religion indeed it seems as time moves on less and less folks believe. I don't care what your beliefs are - I do feel bad and thing its sad though when someone beliefs in NOTHING, that's the true shame.

To believe in nothing is the worse thing you can belief in.

By callmeroy on 6/16/2008 8:58:43 AM , Rating: 3
...and apparently I don't believe in spell checking....sorry for the abundant typos.

By pxavierperez on 6/17/2008 7:48:34 AM , Rating: 3
Not believing in God does not equate to believing in nothing. it just means not believing in... God.

By Reclaimer77 on 6/16/2008 11:17:59 AM , Rating: 2
I think believing in this theory is as much of a leap of faith as believing in a God.

You have to admit, its pretty half baked. I mean, we can't KNOW can we ? It might be possible, it sounds plausable, but we will never KNOW.

I'm just playing devils advocate. But it seems to me that believing scientist today who never witnessed these events, and who can't test them, can explain the origins of life from meteors is placing the same amount of faith that those who believe in god do.

By geddarkstorm on 6/16/2008 12:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
Why yes, they discovered uracil (only one base out of 5), and xanthine (a precursor base to the purines adenine and guanine) in some meteor. Supposing such chemicals didn't react with anything else on early earth to destroy them once they were released from the meteor (these that were found were still locked in, hence why they still existed), what about the ribose sugar and diester phosphate needed to complete the DNA/RNA backbone? Where'd those come from? Nevermind that if life like reactions started by using these (and how would it convert xanthine to adenine and guanine anyways without already being alive and developed to that point before hand?), it still needed to learn to synthesize these nucleobase molecules which requires very complex multi step, multi protein reactions and tons of energy; very elaborate cofactors such as THF; and proteins to be catabolized as the base for the purine/pyrimidine ring structure.

Nucleobases are meaningless by themselves. Caffeine is a nucleobase derivative of xanthine too, for instance, and you don't see it in our DNA. This whole thing is old news, but utterly meaningless biology wise, as just throwing nucleobases at a pond of goo will do nothing. The only thing it could do is provide carbon and nitrogen in a nice little bundle for energy saving catabolism and base scavenging, but that's it; which could be quite helpful for life that already existed to flourish during its fragile stage.

By masher2 on 6/16/2008 2:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
> "still needed to learn to synthesize these nucleobase molecules which requires very complex multi step, multi protein reactions and tons of energy"

How do you believe these nucleobases wound up in the micrometeorites unless they were spontaneously synthesized in some manner?

Star Trek
By Believer on 6/16/2008 5:49:52 AM , Rating: 5
This so reminds me of the Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode 146.

With that archaeologist puzzle that every race is genetically linked from an age old civilization that found itself all alone in the universe and planted their DNA to be spread across the galaxies to create new life.

Maybe the story writers weren't so far off...


Revived my sci-fi romance it did.

RE: Star Trek
By LeviBeckerson on 6/16/2008 7:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
I really wanted to find a screen of Q holding the primordial ooze in his hand from the series finale for the story icon. Alas.

RE: Star Trek
By KaiserCSS on 6/16/2008 7:43:58 AM , Rating: 2
You could have just torrented it...


RE: Star Trek
By Reclaimer77 on 6/16/2008 11:21:19 AM , Rating: 2
That episode was pretty weak IMO. I don't even think it had Worf scowling as he fired weapons. Or Data's whimsical pondering of humanity. Or even Picard being assimilated by some alien villains.

Meah !

RE: Star Trek
By therealnickdanger on 6/16/2008 12:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was ridiculously cheesy, but still kinda cool. When the holographic image of the "seed planter" appeared, all I could think of was the Founders from DS9... I'm sure ST Geekdom has poured over the "facts" regarding this.

By creathir on 6/16/08, Rating: 0
By masher2 on 6/16/2008 11:19:21 AM , Rating: 3
Sagan of course wasn't the first to propose Exogenesis...the theory has kicked around in various forms since the 1800s.

By creathir on 6/16/2008 3:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
Oh of course he wasn't, that was just a more recent example. Why I get rated down for stating this fact I will never know...

- Creathir

By masher2 on 6/16/2008 3:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
Given the meretriciously erratic voting patterns of a few people here, you can consider a downrate a badge of pride. I wouldn't let it bother you.

Does this mean
By ikkeman2 on 6/16/2008 9:53:54 AM , Rating: 3
Does this mean the sun DOES shine out of my ass??

RE: Does this mean
By Reclaimer77 on 6/16/2008 11:09:19 AM , Rating: 2

This got a 0 ??? Man, it was cheesy but for some reason it cracked me up a bit. :)

RE: Does this mean
By DeepBlue1975 on 6/17/2008 4:51:45 PM , Rating: 2
Only if you have a reflective enough ass.
Maybe something like a glass ass?

We *ARE* all made of stars
By AnnihilatorX on 6/16/2008 5:45:03 AM , Rating: 3
We are definitely made of star dust. Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen, key components of life, are created by Supernova explosions of heavy stars which fuses hydrogen and helium into heavier elements.

Whether we come from meteorites is a different matter. I'd like to think otherwise because the space environment would have been harsher than the primordial earth (when earth had oceans).

RE: We *ARE* all made of stars
By PlasmaBomb on 6/16/2008 5:53:31 AM , Rating: 3
Carbon, nitrogen and oxygen are made by nuclear fusion in red giants, its the really heavy elements (past iron on the periodic table) which are made in Supernovas...

Babylon 5 was right.
By BladeVenom on 6/16/2008 9:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't the Minbari's religion believe we are made of star stuff?

RE: Babylon 5 was right.
By PolygonUK on 6/18/2008 6:25:50 AM , Rating: 2
If Moby believes it, then surely it must be true.

Moby Was Right!!
By BCanR2D2 on 6/18/2008 8:06:47 AM , Rating: 2
Who would've thought Moby would've got it right with his song..

We are all made of stars...

Ender's Game
By Myrandex on 6/18/2008 3:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
Philotes don't come from the Sun...they come from Outside. And its obvious that Philotes started it all.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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