Origins of Energy, Matter, Space, Time, and Life (1 of 2)
(Top Posts - Science - 073102; updated 081609)

Wonder of some over everything
being 'just right' ... (030602)
"... the closer one gets to infinite 'openings/possi-
bilities', given *any* chance of something like 'us',
a naturalistic entity in a naturalistic cosmos, it be-
comes all-but certain something like "us" will, in
fact, exist at some point in a physical world, con-
strained by physical law, and probable that multiple
instances of something like 'us' would exist over
the all-but endless --if not endless-- sojourn
throughout all that ever was, is, or ever will be ..."

- - -

Intelligent Designer / 'Irreducible Complexity' /
God / 'First Cause' (041001)
"The evidence is clear that Intelligent Designer
and so-called 'irreducible complexity' are little
more than code-words for God and that, in fact,
within the area of remaining unknowns regarding
the origins of the universe and life, science is
humankind's only legitimate hope as the myths
from the caves of human ignorance just don't
cut it anymore. ..."

- - -

Everything From Everlasting
Not-Quite Nothing ... (040401)
"... well, not really from not-quite nothing,
more like from a world that's theoretically
everywhere and every'when' while at the same
time nowhere in our substantive experience,
a world that has always been and will always
be, the sub-atomic quantum world ..."

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History/Origins/Future of Energy,
Matter, Space, Time, and Life

Universe(s) Origins(s) / Introduction

   Universe(s) Origin(s) Preface

   Universe(s) Origin(s) - 1 of 7
   }}} String Theory / Infinities / Singularities {{{

   Universe(s) Origin(s) - 2 of 7
   }}} No Origin of the Universe? {{{

   Universe(s) Origin(s) - 3 of 7
   }}} Multiverse? {{{

   Universe(s) Origin(s) - 4 of 7
   }}} Universes from Black Holes? {{{

   Universe(s) Origin(s) - 5 of 7
   }}} Cyclic Universe? {{{

   Universe(s) Origin(s) - 6 of 7
   }}} Einstein / Big Bang / Superstrings {{{

   Universe(s) Origin(s) - 7 of 7
   }}} Nothing / Everything {{{

- - -

History/Origins/Future of Energy,
Matter, Space, Time, and Life

1 of 7: From Past Infinity to ~3.5 Billion Years Ago

2 of 7: From ~3.5 Billion to ~359 Million Years Ago

3 of 7: From ~359 Million to ~145 Million Years Ago

4 of 7: From ~145 Million to ~23 Million Years Ago

5 of 7: From ~23 Million to ~2 Million Years Ago

6 of 7: From ~2 Million to ~32,000 Years Ago

7 of 7: From ~30,000 Years Ago to the Future & Infinity

* Bonus *

For thorough understanding of fundamental processes
and perspectives on biology:

On-line Biology Book: Table of Contents

- - -

From the Big Bang to the Big End, explore the evolution
of our Universe. ...

Recipe for Life
... Ingredients for 'Primordial Soup':
o A cocktail of 'heavy' atmospheric gases
o Warm oceans
o Lightning ...

Sowing the Seeds - Panspermia
The widely accepted theory of Spontaneous Generation is
not the only scenario to explain the sudden appearance of
life on Earth. Another theory suggests that life on Earth
originated elsewhere in the Universe, seeded on our planet
by impacting meteors and comets. ...

Alien Life - SETI searches for Life
Does intelligent life exist elsewhere in the Universe? This is
one of the most profound scientific questions that human
beings can ask. For the first time in history, this question
has migrated from the realms of philosophy to the world
of science. ...

Astrobiology or Exobiology is the scientific study of the
possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe. In addition to
astronomy, exobiology embraces branches of biology
including microbiology, biochemistry and ecology. In par-
ticular, exobiology studies organisms that live in extreme
environments on Earth. ...

The Usual Suspects
A major constituent for the development of life is Water.
Earth has abundant water and life, but there could be three
other oceans within the Solar System containing this magic
substance. Candidates for oceans of liquid water include
Jupiter's moons, Europa and Callisto, and Saturn's moon,
Titan. ...

Life on Mars
... meteorite ALH84001 ... meteorite EETA79001 ... scientists
could not tell whether the organic molecules were Martian or
terrestrial in origin. ...

- - -

}}} NASA Astrobiology Roadmap {{{


* How Does Life Begin and Develop? *

Understand How Life Arose on Earth

Determine the General Principles Governing
the Organization of Matter into Living Systems

Explore How Life Evolves on the Molecular,
Organism, and Ecosystem Levels

Determine How the Terrestrial Biosphere
has Co-Evolved with the Earth

Sources of Organics on Earth

Origin of Life's Cellular Components

Models for Life

Genomic Clues to Evolution

Linking Planetary and Biological Evolution

Microbial Ecology


* Does Life Exist Elsewhere In the Universe? *

Establish Limits for Life in Environments That
Provide Analogues for Conditions on Other Worlds

Determine What Makes a Planet Habitable and
How Common These Worlds Are in the Universe

Determine How to Recognize the
Signature of Life on Other Worlds

Determine whether There Is (or Once Was) Life Elsewhere
in Our Solar System, Particularly on Mars and Europa

The Extremes of Life

Past and Present Life on Mars

Life's Precursors and Habitats in the Outer Solar System

Natural Migration of Life

Origin of Habitable Planets

Effects of Climate and Geology on Habitability

Extrasolar Biomarkers


* What is Life's Future on Earth and Beyond? *

Determine How Ecosystems Respond to Environmental
Change on Time-Scales Relevant to Human Life on Earth

Understand the Response of Terrestrial Life
to Conditions in Space or on Other Planets

Ecosystem Response to Rapid Environmental Change

Earth's Future Habitability

Bringing Life with Us beyond Earth

Planetary Protection

- - -

What is DNA?

What is Junk DNA?

What is Genetic Code?

What is Recombination?

What are Mitochondria?

What are Y-Chromosomes?

- - -

DNA From the Beginning
"An animated primer on the basics of DNA,
genes, and heredity. ..."

- - -

Genetic Science Learning Center
Genetics - Tour of the Basics - What is DNA, a gene,
a chromosome, inheritance, a protein, mitosis/meiosis?

- - - - Beginner and Intermediate level informa-
tion on genes, proteins, DNA, chromosomes, the Human
Genome Project, and more ... an Advanced (undergraduate)
level is under construction

- - -

Triumph of Life
Excerpt: ... Nobody knows exactly where the seeds of
life came from. Some believe the chemicals essential
to life were brought here by meteorites, while others
believe they arose naturally in the early oceans and

But most researchers agree that carbon, hydrogen,
oxygen, and nitrogen eventually linked up to form
the basic molecules of life. Then, they slowly assem-
bled into more and more complicated structures that
could reproduce themselves. That set the stage for
the blossoming of life. ...

- - -

How Common is Life?
May 29, 2002
Excerpt: The answer may be in the interstellar clouds.
Is life a highly improbable event, or is it an inevitable
consequence of the rich chemical soup available every-
here in the cosmos? Scientists have recently found new
evidence that amino acids - the 'building-blocks' of life -
can form not only in comets and asteroids, but also in
the interstellar space. ...

- - -

Scientists Discover Antifreeze in Space, Warming
Theories on How and Where Life Begins
April 15, 2002
Excerpt: Ethylene glycol, the chemical commonly used
as automobile antifreeze, was discovered recently in a
massive interstellar cloud of dust and gas near the center
of the Milky Way Galaxy.

"Though we most commonly think of ethylene glycol as
antifreeze, it actually is associated with the formation of
more complex sugar molecules that are necessary for
life ... Finding this molecule supports the view that pre-
biotic chemistry may first get started in interstellar space."

... Though rarefied by Earth standards, interstellar clouds
like this one can enable complex chemical reactions over
time scales of hundreds-of-thousands or even millions of
years. About 130 different molecules are known to exist
in interstellar clouds.

Ethylene glycol (a 10-atom molecule made up of carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen) is one of the five largest molecules
ever discovered in space. It also is a chemically reduced
form of 8-atom glycolaldehyde, the simplest member of
the sugar family. This means that ethylene glycol can be
produced from glycolaldehyde by the addition of two
hydrogen atoms. Both molecules have now been detected
in space by this team.

"These detections suggest that the production of more
complex sugars, like ribose, may be occurring in interstellar
clouds." ... Ribose sugar is required for the backbone struc-
ture of RNA; a less complex form, deoxyribose sugar, is
required for the backbone structure of DNA.

"This discovery further demonstrates how important inter-
stellar chemistry may be to understanding the creation of
biological molecules on the early Earth ... Some scientists
have even speculated that the Earth could have been 'seeded'
with complex molecules from passing comets, which were
formed from the condensing gas nebula that produced our
Solar System." ...

- - -

Life on Mars hopes raised
Friday, April 5, 2002
Excerpt: Scientists have found "intriguing" new evidence
that may indicate there is life on Mars. An analysis of data
obtained by the Pathfinder mission to the Red Planet in
1997 suggests there could be chlorophyll - the molecule
used by plants and other organisms on Earth to extract
energy from sunlight - in the soil close to the landing site.
Researchers stress their work is in a very preliminary
state and they are far from making definite claims. ...

- - -

Life's origins among the stars
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Excerpt: New evidence that the building blocks of life
are scattered in clouds between the stars is reported in
two research papers in the journal Nature. By simulating
the supercold conditions found in space, researchers
have shown that tiny ice grains can play host to impor-
tant reactions when irradiated by ultraviolet light.

In the experiments, atoms were assembled into amino
acids, the basic components of proteins, the sophisti-
cated molecules that build and maintain living organisms.
The researchers say it is possible that such ice grains
could have become incorporated into the cloud that
formed our Solar System and ended up on Earth, help-
ing life to start. ...

- - -

DNA Downloads Alone
Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Excerpts from article describing a key aspect of the manner
in which precursors to life (as we know it) may have gotten
their start around four billion years ago:

Chemists have reproduced the basic process of information
transfer central to all life without the catalysts that facilitate it
in living cells.

They show that DNA alone can pass its message on to sub-
sequent generations. Many researchers believe that DNA-like
molecules acted thus to get life started about four billion
years ago - before catalytic proteins existed to help DNA
to replicate.

The experiment ... might create a new basis for the precise
synthesis of useful polymer materials. It may even hasten
the advent of synthetic biology: the creation of life from
scratch. ...

- - -

Throwing the DNA Switch
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Excerpts from article detailing the capability to manipulate
DNA, an advance which may some day lead to a cure for
genetic diseases such as cancer:

With the kind of precision that makes engineers drool,
scientists can now manipulate DNA using remote control.
By the mere flick of a switch, they can make small loops
of the "life molecule" snap open and shut. This could
advance the treatment of certain life threatening diseases
in the future.

In particular, it might eventually enable doctors to switch
genes on and off at will which, in theory, could revolu-
tionise the way cancers are tackled. The development is
the latest example of so called nano-engineering, which
involves the fabrication and control of structures that
measure just a few millionths of a millimetre across.

... "One could even imagine turning genes on and off
electronically in the future" ... And that, in a sentence, is
the holy grail of many research doctors. One of the most
feared diseases could be treated with far greater efficiency
if this kind of control was possible.

Cancer occurs when oncogenes, the accelerators, get out
of control, causing massive cell growth; or when suppres-
sor genes, the brakes, jam and fail to stop it. "If you could
control these genes, you could control cancer."

... By turning off overactive accelerator genes or turning
on faulty brake genes the disease could, theoretically, be
cured. The therapeutic application is a long way off, but
this discovery is undeniably a step in the right direction.
"It sounds ingenious." ...

- - -

Tough bugs point to life on Mars
Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Excerpt: Researchers have discovered a colony of microbes
like no other on Earth. Scientists are excited because the
organisms could resemble the type of life that might survive
on Mars.

The microbes were found living in a hot spring, 200 metres
(660 feet) beneath the US state of Idaho. They get their energy
not from the Sun or from consuming other organic matter, but
by combining hydrogen from rocks with carbon dioxide.

Because similar sunlight and oxygen-free environments are
thought to exist on the Red Planet, and even on Jupiter's
moon Europa, such organisms could provide clues about
searching for life on other worlds.

"It's possible this type of metabolism was the very first meta-
bolism that evolved on the early Earth ... Because hydrogen
and carbon dioxide are present on Mars and other places in
the Solar System, that kind of life may in fact be what's up
there." ...

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(continued in post 2 of 2)

Posts in this series:

Origins of Energy, Matter, Space, Time, and Life (1 of 2)

Origins of Energy, Matter, Space, Time, and Life (2 of 2)


- - - Additional Information of Relevance - - -

Preponderance of Evidence for Naturalistic
Origins and Evolution of Life (1 of 3)

Preponderance of Evidence for Naturalistic
Origins and Evolution of Life (2 of 3)

Preponderance of Evidence for Naturalistic
Origins and Evolution of Life (3 of 3)

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