[meteorite-list] OCEANS ON MARS

From: Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 21:18:54 -0500
Message-ID: <007f01c7ae2a$5c9d4a60$c3e08c46_at_ATARIENGINE>


> random chemical production of complex
> amino acids is one thing but DNA is quite the other
> and how it manages to develop from a molecule to
> sentience is off any scale

I don't see the problem. Structures are inherent in
all matter, not just any structure: specific structures.
In the case of carbon, they are complicated but just
as determined by binding energies and electron orbits.
>From the beginning of the universe, they're BUILT
IN, even DNA. The universe is just made that way.
DNA is a polymer. Molecules polymerize all by
themselves when exposed to energy, light, heat,
dessication, a host of circumstances. Sugars and
phosphates gum up, dry out, solidify, polymerize
-- now they're chains. Aminos like to shelter in the
lee of five-sided sugars, so chains of polymerized
pentose phosphate collect aminos. All the chains
are glopped up together -- if the aminos on one
chain FOR A SHORT STRETCH match up with
their opposite numbers, a section of two chains is
joined as a 2-chain. The loose ends get broken off;
short 2-chains bump into each other, join end-to-end;
2-chains get longer. Some long 2-chains don't have
a good match between aminos; they don't last long;
others do. Some, a few of the long 2-chains, have
good enough matches that if they're torn apart, they
re-create the missing half from around them. They have
replicated. Some 2-chains, a few, can DO things, little
meaningless things, that make them persist longer than
other 2-chains. Those 2-chains persist and replicate while
other patterns disappear. Some of these 2-chains collect
highly polar molecules that are attracted to water at
one end and repulsed by water at the other end. Soon,
the 2-chains are surrounded by a rough sphere of polar
molecules which crudely protects the 2-chains from
the general environment while allowing some other smaller
molecules to pass both ways. Some rough spheres allow
more than one kind of 2-chain, even other active molecules,
to occupy the protected volume, each doing some little
meaningless chemical operation just happens to make
them persist longer together than apart and longer than
those that don't do as much, sometimes for hours, and
then sometimes for DAYS by doing more meaningless
little things all the time, and this just keeps going on and
on and on, getting more complicated all the time, for the
next, say, 10^17 seconds, and HERE I AM.

Sterling K. Webb
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Crawford" <mark at annasach.net>
To: "Rob McCafferty" <rob_mccafferty at yahoo.com>
Cc: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>; "samc" <samc at btinternet.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 6:06 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] OCEANS ON MARS

>>I get more convinced as time passes, that we *will*
>>find either active or fossil life forms on Mars in my lifetime.
>Don't kid yourself Mark,
>Did you ever do that calculation in physics where you If not, it works out
>that the chances are that you
>have to leave the box for something like 10^20 times
>longer than the universe has been around for to have a
>chance of it happening or something ridiculous like
>that. My point is that random chemical production of complex
>amino acids is one thing but DNA is quite the other
>and how it manages to develop from a molecule to
>sentience is off any scale.
Completely agree - but we're here to argue about it, right? So, given
the universe has a greater than zero chance of life emerging (which I
hope we can all agree on, even on metlist), it either happens in a tiny
fraction of potential cases, or we're unique. Since I specifically
mentioned Mars, I'd argue that the chances are somewhat higher than
(arbitrarily) 10^20, because we share a common environment. I'm not
positing panspermia (nor ruling it out); just noting the fact that we
have a stable single star, a habitable zone which extended further out
in geological time, and demonstrably a place where the right stuff
emerged to do it at least once. I think Mars is a hot bet, and getting
hotter by the year :)

>A group of British scientists predicted finding life
>on extrasolar planets in the next 10 years in the last
>week. How presumptious is this???
Probably pretty presumptious, I agree; but this species does tend to
get a little excitable on this topic. I offer myself as a type specimen
in evidence ;)

>You really have to believe that life will form wherever it can which is not
>same as life finding a way to hang on
Personally, I do believe that life will form, a lot of the time, in an
environment where the conditions are right. You're completely right in
about 'forming' vs 'hanging on' in a place where it's close to extant
life, like sulphur vents vs rainforests - but as I say above, narrow the
field of view. Maybe in our solar system, Mars is the sulphur vent to
our rainforest?

>I REALLY think it will be. (ohhh, geez, I hope proof isn't found next week)
I'll happily join you in humble pie and a decent pint if we ever get
proof either way :) Hell, I'll buy you a pint anyway and we can argue
till the cows come home 8)


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Received on Wed 13 Jun 2007 10:18:54 PM PDT

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