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Mars Waterpark a Booming Place

Two surprises about Mars came from NASA this week: (1) water may be flowing today down gullies in places (NASA press release), and (2) meteorites are still hitting the surface (NASA press release).  The water evidence comes from fresh deposits downslope of a gully on a crater wall.  One photo in the second article shows […]

SETI a Descendant of OOL

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) may seem a different subject than origin of life (OOL), but researchers in both depend on each other’s assumptions.  The common bond is illustrated in a SETI article on Space.com today.  Devon Burr of the SETI institute wrote an article not about intelligent aliens trying to broadcast signals to […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  It’s a Gas

This week’s entry by Sara Goudarzi in Live Science requires no comment.  The title of the article is, “Life’s Origin a Gas.” Life on Earth emerged out of thin air, scientists now say.     By mimicking in a lab the gases that could have been present on early Earth, researchers have concluded that a […]

Mars Life: Hope Against Hope

Good news: the Viking landers (1976) may have been unable to detect life on Mars if it were present.  Bad news: the dust devils on Mars probably would kill anything alive on the surface.  These contrasting stories recently tugged in opposite directions on hopes to find life on the red planet.  A report on PNAS1 […]

New Titan Ethane Theory Proposed

They wonder where the ethane went (see 09/14/2006 and its links).  The case of the missing ethane on Titan has only gotten more puzzling since the Huygens Probe landed last year and found almost none, when oceans a mile deep were anticipated.  In Nature last week,1 D. M. Hunten (U of Arizona) posited a new […]

Europa: The Link Between OOL and SETI

Why would searchers for extraterrestrial intelligence be interested in Europa?  After all, despite the movie 2010 command to “attempt no landings there,” no astrobiologist believes it could host anything more than primitive life – certainly no one who could send messages to us.     Cynthia Phillips, a principal investigator for the SETI Institute, explained […]

Early Oxygen Fuels Fire in OOL Camp

Live Science reported a new claim about oxygen on the early earth appearing far earlier than usually assumed.  A Penn State astrobiologist is claiming that uniformly high oxygen levels existed on earth 3.8 billion years ago, a billion years before previous estimates.     Oxygen’s presence on Earth has been typically inferred from sulfur isotope […]

Origin of Left-Handed Proteins Solved?

As noted in prior entries here (09/06/2003, 11/19/2004) and in our online book, the origin of left-hand proteins is recognized as one of the most formidable challenges to naturalistic origin-of-life research.  Occasionally researchers develop lab techniques for getting slight excesses of one hand over the other.  Astrobiologists agree, however, that 100% purity in a protein […]

Stellar Habitable Zones: Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Astronomers concerned with the origin of life on earth have long thought about the “habitable zone” (sometimes called continuously habitable zone, or CHZ) of our solar system.  They’ve discussed this aerobee-shaped zone around our sun – or any star – mainly in terms of locations where the temperature would permit water to exist as a […]

Ten Years Later: Mars Rock Was a Useful Lie

Almost nobody believes any more that the Martian meteorite ALH84001 contained evidence of life, but the iconic rock launched the science of astrobiology (see 04/17/2006).  So said Matt Crenson for AP (see Space.com and Chron.com) on the tenth anniversary of the highly-publicized NASA announcement that purported to show bacteria-like fossils, magnetites and PAHs thought to […]

More Reasons You Wouldn’t Want to Live on Mars

Electric charges in dust devils on Mars may generate toxic chemicals, says a report on Space.com (see also later story posted on National Geographic News).  According to two recent reports in Astrobiology journal, “Small dust devils and planet-wide storms – combined with static electricity – may lead to the formation of hydrogen peroxide and other […]

Genetic Code Began by Lamarckian Evolution

It takes guts to tackle the origin of the genetic code from a naturalist perspective.  It also takes guts to resurrect Lamarck in the age of Darwin.  Carl Woese and colleagues tried a new hypothesis in PNAS1 that boldly goes headlong into both challenges.  To preserve a natural explanation for the genetic code, they felt […]

Paper View:  Why SETI Hears Only a “Great Silence”

Enrico Fermi posed a curious question in 1950: “Where is everybody?”  If life emerges on planets as a consequence of evolution, there should be other intelligent civilizations out there, and some of them must have colonized other worlds.  He thought there must have been plenty of time for galactic colonizers to achieve technologies far beyond […]

Can the Origin of Life Be Simplified?

Evolutionists looking for a materialistic explanation for the origin of life know that there is a huge gap between a sea of chemicals and a self-replicating cell.  Over the years since the Miller experiment (see 05/02/2003 entry), there have been several approaches trying to bridge this gap.  One has been the RNA World hypothesis, that […]

The Porridge Before the Soup: Too Hot?

In the evolutionary theory of everything, there is a soup before the primordial soup we normally think of.  It’s the solar nebula, the whirling disk of dust, gas and ice that preceded the planets.  Scientists used to think the nebula was differentiated like chemicals in a giant centrifuge, with the rocks close to the sun […]
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