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Building Blocks of DNA Confirmed In Meteorites

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-are-all-made-of-stars dept.

Space 145

MistrX writes "Researchers announced that the components of DNA have now been confirmed to exist in extraterrestrial meteorites. A different team of scientists also discovered a number of molecules linked with a vital ancient biological process, adding weight to the idea that the earliest forms of life on Earth may have been made up in part from materials delivered to Earth from space. Past research had revealed a range of building blocks of life in meteorites, such as the amino acids that make up proteins. Space rocks just like these may have been a vital source of the organic compounds that gave rise to life on Earth."

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What a painful summary to read (2)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031602)

"made up in part from materials delivered to Earth the planet by from space". Seriously?

Re:What a painful summary to read (2, Funny)

vgbndkng (1806628) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031632)

Those are the kind best though materials of.

Re:What a painful summary to read (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031694)

Those are the kind best though materials of.

I try to suppress my grammar-Nazism but wtf type of sentence is that?

Re:What a painful summary to read (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031786)

Watch out for that meteorite! WHOOOOSH!

Re:What a painful summary to read (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031820)

WOOOOOSH!!

Re:What a painful summary to read (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031848)

Those are the kind best though materials of.

I try to suppress my grammar-Nazism but wtf type of sentence is that?

The sentence read in Yoda's voice and come to you it will.

Re:What a painful summary to read (1, Funny)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031682)

I know, the author wrote of is understand to hard the submission to me.

Re:What a painful summary to read (1, Offtopic)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031990)

Some of the article sentences are as bad.

The analytical techniques probed the mass and other features of the molecules to identify the presence of extraterrestrial nucleobases and see that they apparently did not come from the surrounding area.

Im not sure quite whats wrong with the middle of that sentence, but it seems wrong-- shouldnt it be "and saw"?

Re:What a painful summary to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032322)

A bit clunky, but not outright ungrammatical: to distributes over both identify and see.

Re:What a painful summary to read (1)

siride (974284) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032678)

I think it is ungrammatical. "To see" is a separate result clause, whereas "to identify" is a clause that completes the verb "probed" (as part of a purpose construct). I'm not even sure that "to identify" and "to see" even have the same subject. They obviously shouldn't be governed by the same "to".

Re:What a painful summary to read (1, Offtopic)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031752)

"made up in part from materials delivered to Earth the planet by from space". Seriously?

Without those specific instructions the meteorite may have delivered the materials to 'Earth the constellation' or 'Earth the nebula' or even 'Earth the meteorite' and it would never have done it's job. BTW, it's a good thing "from space" was on the whitelist.

Re:What a painful summary to read (1, Offtopic)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031772)

Didn't all the atoms on Earth come by from space...?

Re:What a painful summary to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033246)

We're still *IN* space, so the distinction is moot.

Re:What a painful summary to read (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034062)

Yes, but most of them didn't come to earth, they are what formed the earth initially out of the dust cloud that birthed our solar system.

Re:What a painful summary to read (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032416)

Of course the building blocks of life are in space. They are on earth.

Re:What a painful summary to read (1)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032434)

made up in part from materials delivered to Earth the planet by from space

- Posted via UDP

delivered to Earth the planet by from space (1, Offtopic)

Serif (87265) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031608)

Syntax error on line 2 - processing aborted

Maybe the aliens.. (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031626)

Maybe the aliens somewhere, were playing spore? :p

Significance (4, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031630)

Can someone please explain the significance of this finding? I'm reading into a log of big assumptions here. So I have a few basic questions.

A.) Does that mean that life here on Earth most likely have been boot-strapped from meteorites?
B.) Such compounds are so common in the universe that finding them floating in space is trivial? Thus leading to the idea of life being more common than we think.

Re:Significance (1)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031652)

You are correct in both instances, Sherlock.

Re:Significance (5, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031686)

C) God created Man by throwing rocks at the Earth.

Re:Significance (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031762)

C) God created Man by throwing rocks at the Earth.

Is there a 'glass houses' joke in there somewhere?

Re:Significance (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031778)

C) God created Man by throwing rocks at the Earth.

hmm, so the objective of throwing stones in Populous [wikimedia.org] was not based on the scientific facts?

Re:Significance (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032082)

Everything I learned about creating worlds and being God I learned from Populous, Black and White, and Spore.

Nothing screams God like picking up a flaming pieces of poop and hurling them at a village that does not worship me.

Re:Significance (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031910)

C) God created Man by throwing rocks at the Earth.

Correction:
C) God created Man by having Happy Fun Time with an asteroid.

Re:Significance (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032042)

Correction:
C) Meteorites are what happens at the end of God having Happy Fun Time.

Re:Significance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032200)

Yes, God is a badass motherfucker with balls of steel. Everytime he has a Happy Fun Time, astroids go flying at the end.

Re:Significance (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032732)

C) God created Man by throwing rocks at the Earth.

Well, we do call them "the Heavens". What if He did?

Correction: (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033016)

C) God destroyed Man by throwing rocks at the Earth.

And in conclusion... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033852)

...if the best paid pitchers are supposed to be the best pitchers, and if pitching is intelligent design, then we can deduce that CC Sabathia is, in fact, God.

This makes sense, as we all know Alex Rodriguez is the devil, which confirms all of our suspicions that they're on the same team to begin with.

Re:Significance (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031724)

"Such compounds are so common in the universe that finding them floating in space is trivial?"
Correct. My theory is that this is the debris of countless space wars that have occured throughout the galaxy.

Re:Significance (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031796)

Remnants of Alderaan?

Re:Significance (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031850)

Nope, the remnants of the first "Earth" (what a dumb name).

Now, get back to computing the answer!

Re:Significance (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032062)

Ok, Benji....

Re:Significance (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032498)

You mean the question.

Re:Significance (3, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031780)

A.) Does that mean that life here on Earth most likely have been boot-strapped from meteorites?

It could mean that life doesn't just magically sprout up on a planet just because it meets a few criteria about atmosphere, gravity, etc.

B.) Such compounds are so common in the universe that finding them floating in space is trivial? Thus leading to the idea of life being more common than we think.

Uh, no, there's nothing that says it's common. (That could come later, though.) From what we know, or actually from what we DON'T know, it's possible that these meteorites are incredibly rare and that we have the most unique planet in the universe.

We really need to actually find a lifeform somewhere else .

Re:Significance (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031940)

I could be wrong here, but I believe it's actually generally suspected at this point that the chemical basis for life is rather common outside of our planet and outside of our solar system [wikipedia.org] . This brings to mind certain ideas about the nature of our universe [wikipedia.org] which are kind of interesting, if a little ambitious.

Possible, but... (3, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031960)

The anthropomorphic fallacy (we overestimate the probability of life-related thing because we are living and we are there to see it) has a counter-argument which runs "We live on a planet which originally had no life, and we are here. Life must arise spontaneously because the initial conditions of the universe did not admit of any life, and there is at least some (us). If it has arisen at least once (regardless of how it got here) and survived despite all the cosmic and other accidents to the Earth, whether it's asteroid collisions or becoming a snowball, life is fairly tough. Therefore, based on present knowledge, and our understanding of how big the Universe is, life is most likely fairly common".

People who argue that we are unique in a very large universe are in essence taking a position which at base is religious, not scientific. Science assumes that once we observe a phenomenon, if we reproduce the initial conditions it will recur. This has worked extremely well up till now, whereas the successive religious claims of uniqueness, beginning with the Earth at the centre of the universe, have all been exploded.

Re:Possible, but... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032256)

Therefore, based on present knowledge, and our understanding of how big the Universe is, life is most likely fairly common

What that statement is really saying is: "Because we don't really know any better, it could be common." We're still at that "we don't know" phase.

People who argue that we are unique in a very large universe are in essence taking a position which at base is religious, not scientific.

Since I said nothing about religion the only real reason to bring it up is to attempt to discredit me by claiming I believe in creatures I've never seen before. Though funny in this context, it serves no purpose here. Science allows people to attack problems from different perspectives, correct?

I didn't argue that we are unique. What I am talking about is critical thinking. What does a discovery actually mean? Well, let's ask a few questions:

A meteorite loaded with bits of DNA has been discovered. Where did it come from?

Where was it going?

How many are there?

What does it take for it to actually turn into life? Does it have to strike a planet under certain conditions? Does it have to be struck by lightning? Etc.

How many planets did it seed?

Where in the galaxy are these meteorites formed?

For every one of these questions we don't have an answer yet. That'll come when we leave the solar system. In the mean time, we have to leave it blank. We end up chalking it up to a statistic.

Before long we end up saying "well the conditions have to be random enough and the universe is big enough that the odds are really really good!" Which is fine for the purposes of driving the desire to explore, but really it's a measurement of what we don't know.

Scientific induction (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032766)

First, I didn't refer to you. I wrote "People who argue that we are unique...", which you did not do. You adopted a sceptical position which runs counter to the positions which are usually reached by considering what is known so far about biology, planet formation and the like, but you did not argue that we are unique. I noticed that.

I am, however permitted (as, among other things, a one time student of the history of science and religion) to note that arguments to uniqueness normally have a religious foundation, because there is no evidence whatsoever that they are correct whereas there is evidence that life exists in the Universe and that the rocks floating around the bits of the universe which interact with us are similar to our rocks.

Interestingly, it only really seems to be since the rise of American fundamentalism that anyone with a Western university education has seriously questioned that life exists elsewhere in the Universe. Pope in one of his poems treats it as an obvious given. Catholic theologians have debated (including at Vat II) how salvation would work for people from other planets, and C S Lewis, an Anglican scholar and novelist, actually proposed a theodicy in three novels which was intended to provide a mechanism. Whole genres - science fiction and fantasy - treat it as a given. It seems to be a part of the American retreat from science.

Re:Scientific induction (1)

davide marney (231845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033388)

arguments to uniqueness normally have a religious foundation, because there is no evidence whatsoever that they are correct

What? This is exactly backwards. There is NO evidence yet that life exists outside of Earth. Paradoxically, however, we /believe/ that life must exist elsewhere because here we are. This is such a common paradox, it even has a name, the Fermi Paradox [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Possible, but... (1)

gewalker (57809) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032490)

Position #1 -- God fearing Bible thumper. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates life is present or absent elsewhere in God's creation. The Genesis account explains the origin of life on this planet. Existence of life elsewhere is therefore inconclusive, more data is needed.

Note: some GFBT's argue that life elsewhere cannot exist, but they either do not know their Bible or mis-use the revealed word of God.

Position #2 -- God denying atheist cosmologist. The Drake equation gives the expected number of planets containing life. However, the values of the constants are largely conjecture and subjective bias of the person estimating the like values of the constants varies widely leading to valid outcomes to ranging from abundant life to earth being unique. Existence of life elsewhere is therefore inconclusive, more data is needed.

Note: some GDAT's insist that life elsewhere must exist, but they either do not understand the Drake equation or mis-use the relevant data or lack thereof.

It appears weak or strong anthropic reasoning applies in either case. Without more data, this is in reality a question of philosophy -- origin of life cannot be adequate explained scientifically, and the common religious explanation (though adequate from a religious perspective) is a priori unscientific.

Sorry but finding some amino acids acids in a rock from space adds nothing new to origin of life science unless it contributes something otherwise difficult to explain e.g., a solution to the chirality selection problem (which has been suggested before). Finding a space rock with a strong selection bias to either left or right handed organics -- now that would be very interesting.

News yes, interesting yes, -- but significant evidence relevant to the origin of life question? Not really.

Disagree... (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032818)

Given that we do not know why there is an excess of matter over antimatter in the observed universe, your argument would lead us to believe that there isn't a universe.

In fact this result is evidence that supports a wider scope for life. It shows that rocks can act as a shield for relatively fragile molecules which are components of larger organic molecules. This is a key argument; for life to be abundant, if the necessary molecules start to appear from natural causes in the early planet they must last long enough for further synthesis to occur. This research shows that this is possible for larger molecules than hitherto known.

Re:Disagree... (1)

gewalker (57809) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033818)

Disagree if you lifke, but if you actually consider the mechanics of abiogenesis, the ET organic fragments do not really affect the science -- it is an issue of "too little to make a difference" -- there really is not a good abiogenesis orgin of life scientific theory. This discovery does not alter the gulf between some random amino acids and life. We have no trouble with explaining some amino acids availability. The problem is that they are reactive molecules that degrade in utility more often than not without life to concentrate, protect and organize them. Organizing them in a functioning set of proteins, lipids, etc. is the real problem. This is a sideshow.

IMO, current abiogenesis theories are about as useful as Aristotelian physics [wikipedia.org] in that they sound reasonable to the non-expert, but upon close examination, there are too many inconsistencies and weaknesses to really pass as decent theories. Fragments from space is just more hand-wavium for the extant theories.

Unless there is more involved here than just another possible source of organic fragments (i.e., not evidence of panspermia or such like), this can at best be only a very minor supporting role. It contributes nothing significant to the key arguments of current theories.

Until you do the math for how much organic fragments arrive via incoming rocks (that survive atmospheric entry) vs. how much is generated via natural processes as well as well as the math for the abiogenis origins and you will understand why I say this is not significant, hand-wavium. Unfortunately, I don't have the math for rocks from space vs. local orgins, but I do know the math for abiogenesis is very dogdy for all of the current theories, so much so that I am confident that addiing in ET based fragments make no real difference. If Darwin understood how complex life was, I doubt he would have made his warm little pond conjecture — he was a better scientist than that.

I am not a practicing scientist in this field, so my opinions are worth nothing (as are yours presumably), but I do understand enough math and statistics to know that the existing theories are deeply flawed. This does not mean by iteself mean abiogenisis cannot happen, it is just we have no current scientifically useful theory that explains how it could happen

What is really needed (and obviously very difficult to develop) is a much better theory of abiogenesis. This new data is not actually significant otherwise.

Could be a local phenomena ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034404)

In fact this result is evidence that supports a wider scope for life.

In the scope of our solar system, we could be observing a local phenomena. I'm not advocating, nor hoping, this is the case - just saying we need more evidence with respect to a universal phenomena.

Re:Possible, but... (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032662)

This has worked extremely well up till now, whereas the successive religious claims of uniqueness, beginning with the Earth at the centre of the universe, have all been exploded.

How so? In order for this to be the case, it would seem there would be two conditions, applying to any premise, for the "successive" claims (of which you have provided two highly-dubious "examples")...

1. Such a claim was unequivocally made

2. It has been demonstrated false

I understand there have been historical interpretation of the Earth as the center of the universe, but this was not universally held even within Catholicism even at the time of Galileo--Copernican heliocentrism was a "minority view". And as far as the original sources go, we have such notations as the Earth "hanging on nothing" (re: Job 26:7) which is a notably-accurate description rather arguing against the notion of the Earth being specified as fixed. "An" interpretation does not equate to "the" interpretation for the purposes of demonstrating an overall view has been refuted.

As it stands, it seems this is the sum total of the "successive religious claims" you have "exploded"...

A. Uniqueness of life existing only on Earth

1. Not claimed by religion

2. Life elsewhere not demonstrated (certainly not sentient life)

Required for your position: Both shown true. Actuality: Neither shown true.

B. Earth as center of universe

1. Not definitively claimed by religion

2. There is, in fact, no "center" and reference frames are arbitrary

Required for your position: Both shown true. Actuality: Neither shown true.

Can you clarify?

Re:Possible, but... (1)

ZaphDingbat (451843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034296)

I understand there have been historical interpretation of the Earth as the center of the universe, but this was not universally held even within Catholicism even at the time of Galileo--Copernican heliocentrism was a "minority view". And as far as the original sources go, we have such notations as the Earth "hanging on nothing" (re: Job 26:7) which is a notably-accurate description rather arguing against the notion of the Earth being specified as fixed. "An" interpretation does not equate to "the" interpretation for the purposes of demonstrating an overall view has been refuted.

The view of the original authors, who should be able to lay claim to special revelation, was that the Earth was fixed with a dome over it: http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/01-Genesis/Text/Articles-Books/Seely-Firmament-WTJ.pdf

That Catholics in later centuries, with the advantage of being informed by science, didn't believe this is uninteresting. It is interesting that their view does not match the views of those who supposedly had direct access to the source.

I'm not at all surprised that you are unaware of and hostile to these religious claims you claim were not made. The truth, even if you don't like it, is that they are still being made [creation.com] . Or do you think that a religious idea has to be universal before it can be considered stupid?

Re:Possible, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033328)

The anthropomorphic fallacy (we overestimate the probability of life-related thing because we are living and we are there to see it)

You mean the anthropic principle, not anthropomorphic fallacy.

Re:Significance (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032078)

We really need to actually find a lifeform somewhere else .

So we can kill it and dissect it!

And people wonder why aliens have not landed and introduced themselves. ;)

Re:Significance (1)

siride (974284) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032726)

Maybe they would want to kill and dissect us?

Re:Significance (1)

Uhhhh oh ya! (1000660) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033226)

For one I still have to throw some doubt here because I dont remember us landing on any meteorites lately to be making this claim as intently as the poorly written article does. Still what significance if any does this have? As others have stated, we have shown that the building blocks of life exist all throughout the universe but actual life itself still evades us. It would seem that before we trouble ourselves with the question of where the building blocks came from we should figure out how they got put together. I believe I learned fairly early on in school that working backwards through a problem was one of the easier ways of figuring it out.

Re:Significance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031856)

This is well summarized in Oolon Colluphid's 'That About Wraps it Up for God'

Re:Significance (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032546)

I preferred some of his earlier works. I especially liked "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes". A very good read indeed.

Re:Significance (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031912)

Life *may* have been bootstrapped from a meteorite directly. We've always said it's possible. This is not "proof" either way, it just adds data (to both sides).

Such compounds aren't necessarily common in the universe. Parts of those compounds are nothing more than a handful of molecules that likes to stick to other types in certain combinations. All those molecules/atoms are (as far as we can guess) present in just about any place you can study in that kind of detail. It's the "diamonds are a type of carbon" kind of thing. Any idiot can find carbon, but you don't get a diamond in every handful. Except we don't actually know how much "carbon" (atoms) in the universe are naturally occurring as "diamonds" (these compounds).

Life isn't any more or less common than we believed before this "discovery". It's just confirmation that one of the avenues we posited is *possible*.

Re:Significance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032032)

A part of me wonders if there was some alien race that, instead of spreading themselves throughout space which would have been very difficult (think of humanity trying to do the same thing), they just shot out a bunch of dna into the universe so that it would grab hold elsewhere.

Granted most scientists seem to think that life is fairly common anyway so occam's razor definitely applies but you never know :).

Re:Significance (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032044)

If you read the article, and remember that meteorites are bits of rock that have fallen to earth, this is by no means conclusive-- the most accurate description appears to be the Slashdot Headline ("Building-Blocks-of-DNA-Confirmed-In-Meteorites"). They did test the surrounding area for similar molecules and did not find any, but the article does not state whether such material is found anywhere on earth, or how old the meteorites were, or where they were found.

So Im not clear on how the possibility that it is simply contamination is being ruled out, simply because they "checked against the surrounding area" (which again raises questions-- how big an area, how did they check, etc).

Re:Significance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032098)

"A.) Does that mean that life here on Earth most likely have been boot-strapped from meteorites?"

Possibly, there's no reason to think not, obviously meteorites carry things and the earth has been hit by probably over a billion throughout it's lifetime.

"B.) Such compounds are so common in the universe that finding them floating in space is trivial? Thus leading to the idea of life being more common than we think."

Compounds are not life. Finding them in space is certainly trivial, whether they have the chance to make a difference is not. To think naturally occurring elements and compounds using abundant elements are "uncommon" in the interstellar medium or all across the universe is bafflingly idiotic

Re:Significance (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032110)

A.) Does that mean that life here on Earth most likely have been boot-strapped from meteorites?
B.) Such compounds are so common in the universe that finding them floating in space is trivial? Thus leading to the idea of life being more common than we think.

A is probably wrong.

Talk to a biologist about the quality level of 100K-year and older DNA. The reason you can't clone ancient DNA from dinos, maybe even mammoths, is it decays too much from radiation/age/whatever in just a few zillion years, even in ideal conditions. In space the radiation and temp swings will be worse, and it'll have to travel even longer.

B is probably correct. However, I think there are probably a lot more worlds where the alpha predator is a microscopic virus or maybe protozoa at most, than worlds where the alpha predator is a smartphone using bipedal mammal. Worlds with lichens are probably much more common than worlds with giant ants.

Re:Significance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032242)

alpha predator is a smartphone using bipedal mammal.

Cute. ^_^

Re:Significance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032278)

Well, there is still HUGE difference between DNA and amino-acids. It's like comparing Greek Parthenon and lots of small marble pieces. While DNA itself may not survive 100k+ years, amino-acids sure as hell can. So it is not as improbable as it seems.

Um... so... (1)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034096)

It's like comparing Greek Parthenon and lots of small marble pieces.

Um... so... the Parthenon could have occurred naturally?

Re:Significance (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032188)

It means that certain organic chemicals are probably common in the universe. Depending on your desire to believe, that could mean that life is common "out there" or it could mean fuck all. Take your pick.

Re:Significance (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034004)

It means that certain organic chemicals are probably common in the universe. Depending on your desire to believe, that could mean that life is common "out there" or it could mean fuck all. Take your pick.

I prefer the middle ground, and take it to mean "fuck all life out there".

Re:Significance (1)

PineHall (206441) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032762)

Good questions! It seems to me that the ideas of exogenesis and panspermia [wikipedia.org] which have been discounted (in my reading) may be more of a possibility with the new evidence than previously thought. The standard theories of the origin of life [wikipedia.org] may need some revision. I can understand why scientists want to keep all of the theory on earth as opposed to pushing it off earth. It is easier find evidence and prevents concept of the something unknown happened out there. But right now there is a whole lot of unknowns and it may not be a tractable problem in the scientific framework.

Re:Darwinian disaster ... (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033270)

It means ... as in the jingle ..." ... and away goes evolution down the drain...". Q done-it !

Re:Significance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034152)

Based on the age of the Earth, and the time that the first life appears in the fossil record, we have been unable to explain how life arose so QUICKLY....given the estimated speed of biological evolution. Panspermia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia) is a theory attempting to explain how the building blocks for life are distributed around the universe, allowing life to evolve from these building blocks to organized cells in a billion years or so.

SELL !! SELL !! PATCH !! FEAR !! FEAT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031700)

Beware the smeeeeelly feet for it heralds the end !!

Building blocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031708)

We're missing the point here. Apparently, living things are made up of some sort of LEGO bricks! Who cares whether they can come from space or not, this should make bioengineering a lot easier.

Planets (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031740)

Considering that all planets are composed of material that was once floating about in space, this is kind of obvious. It's just a matter of when it arrived. Being part of a meteor sounds cool and all, but it's not like in the movies where there's a magic meteor that can give super powers (which seems to be the summary's interpretation). It just means this specific matter arrived on earth after the planet was already pretty well formed.

Re:Planets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37031830)

Considering that all planets are composed of material that was once floating about in space, this is kind of obvious. It's just a matter of when it arrived. Being part of a meteor sounds cool and all, but it's not like in the movies where there's a magic meteor that can give super powers (which seems to be the summary's interpretation). It just means this specific matter arrived on earth after the planet was already pretty well formed.

Sp you're saying you don't have super powers?!

Poor bastard.

I for one am invisible as long as no one looks at me.

Re:Planets (1)

Froeschle (943753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033334)

"It just means this specific matter arrived on earth after the planet was already pretty well formed."

The material from which the earth formed likely contained such material as well . It didn't necessarily have to rain from the sky. Some of that material may have originated on what are now non-existent, i.e. destroyed, planets. All the metals on the earth are a result of previous generations of stars, so why couldn't at least some of this type of material not have been included in the "mix" as well? Bacteria have been found deep inside rocks on earth so why should something similar not have been in the rocks and planetesimals from which the earth formed?

A hurr hurr hurr derp (0)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031860)

But the Bible didn't say nothin' bout no metorites!

Read the Book of Daniel (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032000)

The guy was either out on magic mushrooms, or trying to describe a flying saucer. Or both...though, seriously, given that I have actual evidence for magic mushrooms, and I have no belief in Biblical inerrancy, I'll take the psilocybin explanation.

Re:A hurr hurr hurr derp (1)

Holammer (1217422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032070)

But the Bible didn't say nothin' bout no metorites!

There are plenty of descriptions of meteorite type objects in the bible. From Genesis to Book of Revelation. Sure, they're described and fire and brimstone or stars falling from the sky. But it's the best a bunch of stupid goat herders could come up with.

Re:A hurr hurr hurr derp (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032538)

I'm surprised. 62 comments and you're the first angry atheist trying to troll this into a religion flame war.

Oh, and I read the story first on Fox News. Yeah, those bible thumping tea baggers published it before Slashdot!

Re:A hurr hurr hurr derp (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032942)

Angry atheist? Not at all. More like malevolent agnostic who finds cafeteria Christians to be hilarious joke fodder.

Extremely Cool (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031864)

We already know that our atoms come from supernovae. Carbon, Oxygen and other atoms are formed in stars and scattered around the Universe via supernovae. Every atom in your body was once in the fiery furnace of a star just before it exploded. Now we know that, later on, the precursors to the DNA that makes us who we are were floating around in meteors in space. They crashed to Earth where, over time, it developed into DNA, cells, and life.

Scientific explanations don't make things boring, they make them incredibly cool!

Re:Extremely Cool (1)

zoom-ping (905112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031994)

IIRC supernovas are capable of producing heavier atoms (>= iron). A regular dying star can fuse atoms into carbon and oxygen just fine, so not all the atoms in our bodies were forged in supernovas. Still awesome tho.

Re:Extremely Cool (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032120)

Supernovas are the things the fling the atoms through space though...

Re:Extremely Cool (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032644)

Supernovae aren't the only things though.. our sun will not go supernova, but it will still expand into a red giant at the end of it's life, engulfing most or all of the inner rocky planets, and then finally eject most of it's remaining elements (envelope) into surrounding space, turning into a little white dwarf, and leaving behind a planetary nebula.. those elements just won't go quite as far out in space as fast as a supernova would've ejected them, but eventually they'll make their way around out there. Depending on where the star system was, it could possibly mingle with other local gas "clouds" if present (mostly hydrogen), (re)coalescence, and the whole process repeat, forming a new star and system- but there wouldn't be any heavier elements such as iron or heavier unless they existed prior- for that, you do need a supernova.

Where did the meteor get them? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031866)

How, exactly, does this help answer the question of where life came from (possibly)? Is it easier/ more likely for these compounds to form on meteors than simply to originate on Earth? Or does this merely shove the question back to "well, it didn't come from Earth, so it came from a meteor!" "How did it get on the meteor?" "...I don't know, aliens maybe?" I really don't understand why they hypothesized that meteors brought the compounds here. Is it really just that we have no idea how they can form on Earth by themselves?

Re:Where did the meteor get them? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032152)

Both mechanisms are possible. This is just more evidence.

We've made organic compounds from primordial soup + lightning, now we've also proved they're drifting through space (it was just a hypothesis before this).

Re:Where did the meteor get them? (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032158)

That material along with the carbon molecules got spread when the previous star generations exploded via novae. That means the DNA traces and higher molecule junk came from the previous generation of starts that preceded the solar system.

Re:Where did the meteor get them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032210)

Where did the meteor get them?

God's greasy palm.

Re:Where did the meteor get them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37033510)

"How did it get on the meteor?"
 
  Perhaps it was inside the meteor (rock) before it was blasted from the surface of its parent body by another meteor?

Intriguing similarity (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37031924)

Sperm-esque shaped meteor + egg-esque shaped planet = life

we are stardust, we are golden (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032066)

we are billion year old carbon...

Carbon & Hydrogen atoms and water molecules? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032306)

Let me guess, they found some Carbon and Hydrogen atoms and some water molecules?
It surprises me that they failed to consider the meteorite being alive! Clearly, this is proof!

Building blocks of DNA... (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032362)

Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen. Surprise!

Re:Building blocks of DNA... (3, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032778)

Those would be "building blocks of any organic molecule". These are adenine and guanine, molecules of a dozen or so atoms, as well as some other molecules related to them though not found in DNA.

Actual press release with more science than TFA:

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/dna-meteorites.html [nasa.gov]

Thats nice (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032372)

Now that the god argument has been settled, can we focus on unimportant science like colonizing Mars for the betterment of man kind?

Understatement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032380)

Hello? Earth is made up ENTIRELY from materials delivered to Earth from space.

Everybody Knows GOD made the heavens and earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37032388)

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
Gen 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Gen 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Gen 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
Gen 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
Gen 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Gen 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Gen 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Gen 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Gen 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Gen 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Joh 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Joh 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Experiment? (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032578)

It would be interesting if all life on this planet was nothing more than an elaborate experiment designed by some ancient race who hurled a bunch of their DNA to some random part of space. We may someday (in the distant future) have to resort to the same so that we could (very, very indirectly) travel through intergalactic space, possibly to survive (via proxy) some sort of (self-inflicted?) calamity on Earth.

But did the meteorite come from Earth? (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032706)

We have had any number of events which could hurl material from Earth well past escape velocity and into space. Is this material coming back after one of those events? I skimmed the article, but did not see where they eliminated Earth as the source of the material.

The ENTIRE PLANET (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37032768)

is made up from materials 'from space'. Stupid article

simpler genetic systems before DNA (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033590)

Strong evidence for RNA. Suggestions of hybrid poly-aromic hydrocarbon nucleic acid system before that. DNA is the most stable, accurate, and complex of the three. But when it evolved it would overwhelm the competition over millions of years.

Rocks Hit Earth (1)

Espresso2xshot (2416248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033944)

I've read most of the posts here and did not see anyone posting the possibility that meteor have hit the earth over the years (however many billions of years) which launched some "building blocks" or Amino Acids into space in the form of meteorites etc. . .?
Could it be possible that some of those rocks God threw at us bounced off and scattered materials across the galaxy and beyond?

Space rocks (1)

bgspence (155914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37033968)

So, by the same logic, if rocks are found in space rocks, then rocks found on earth were created in outer space by meteorites.

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