Monday, June 16, 2008

We Are the Little Green Men We've Been Waiting For

It turns out that some of the chemical constituents of life came from space. This is one of those scientific findings that is begging to be misconstrued and, um, enlarged in the telling (see blog post title), so astronomer Phil Plait has helpfully summarized the high points:

1) Researchers have found that some molecules which are the basis for life on Earth can have an extraterrestrial origin.

2) These molecules survived their impact with Earth.

3) These alien molecules may have been crucial to the development of life on Earth.

4) These needed building blocks of life may have also been formed right here on Earth, so we can’t fly off the handle.

5) Intact life from space — bacteria, viruses, and such — is still just an idea, with no credible supporting evidence.

But the really big point is that this is an amazing and wonderful discovery! It is entirely possible that life here — or at least the necessary components of it — began out there.
Amazing! As Carl Sagan said many times, we are all star-stuff.

2 comments:

Bpaul said...

There is some serious thought about fungal spores as a possible seeding mechanism, because they're so damned tough. They could survive space flight inside a meteor easily.

Domestically Challenged said...

Good gawd, what will they think up next???