Signs of Life Found in 4.5 Billion Year Old Meteorites

Signs of Life Found in 4.5 Billion Year Old Meteorites

A group of scientists recently found evidence of the ingredients for life in two meteorites that landed on Earth some 20 years ago. The two specimens, named Zag and Monahans, were found when one crashed near a group of boys playing basketball in Texas, while the other crash landed in Morocco a few months later.

According to a study published in Science Advances the meteorites contain liquid water, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen trapped inside salt crystals. One scientist compared the finding to a fly trapped in amber, as the meteorites are likely to be 4.5 billion years old and contain the basic elements necessary for life.

“This is really the first time we have found abundant organic matter also associated with liquid water that is really crucial to the origin of life and the origin of complex organic compounds in space,” said Queenie Chan, the study’s lead author and planetary scientist at The Open University in the U.K.

The meteorites are thought to have originated from two celestial bodies,Hebe and Ceres, that orbit in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is thought that, due to the similarity of the meteorites, the two may have impacted each other and mixed material.

 

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NASA scientists have been intrigued by Ceres lately, continuing the Dawn spacecraft’s mission to study the dwarf planet two and a half years longer than intended.

Ceres is the largest object within the asteroid belt and could potentially harbor life. NASA believes that there once may have been a vast ocean on the dwarf planet and are sending Dawn within 20 miles of Ceres to study its surface.

There are still other preserved crystals from the meteorites that have yet to be studied by scientists who are hoping to find further evidence of liquid water and other life-supporting elements.



Harvard Professor Avi Loeb Says Universe Created in a Lab

Harvard Professor Avi Loeb Says Universe Created in a Lab

One of the greatest mysteries of our universe is the question of what existed before the Big Bang and how our universe was created. Could it have been created in a lab by a higher form of intelligence—an extraterrestrial intelligence?

Scientists have studied for years the possibilities that may have created the Big Bang; how our universe was created. Now, Avi Loeb, Harvard Professor of Science and author of “extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,” proposes in his latest editorial for Scientific American that our universe may have been created in a lab.

Modern physics has a problem, we do not yet have a good understanding of how to unify quantum mechanics and gravity. If we did, we could in theory figure out how to create a “Big Bang.” This idea led professor Loeb to his theory.

“If we imagine a civilization that had science and technology for much more than a century like we did, then they could have arrived at a theory that unifies quantum mechanics and gravity, and if they figure out how the Big Bang can be created perhaps they could also produce it themselves in the laboratory,” Loeb said. “And if that happens then there is a very interesting possibility, just like in nature, for example, a chick comes out of an egg, becomes a chicken and lays another egg, and so forth. You can imagine a universe like ours giving birth to an intelligent civilization that can create a universe like the one that made it.”

Imagine if different civilizations were given a letter grade; professor Loeb puts us at a Grade C, while the more advanced civilizations have higher grades.

“One can, in principle, classify civilizations in the universe into different classes. Type C civilization is similar to ours where we rely on the sun to keep us alive and we are using our environment the way it was provided to us. But then one can imagine a civilization Type B, which is not dependent on the star next to which it was born, in. fact it can create a habitat that supports its life far away from the star,” Loeb said.

“You can imagine them creating a platform where a civilization can live happily, using nuclear energy supplied to it from nuclear reactors and not from the star that it happens to be born next to, that would be Type B. Then Type A civilizations would be those that are capable of recreating the astrophysical environment that they live in, in particular, the universe as a whole. So, creating a universe in the laboratory implies that you’re at the top of the class of civilizations in the universe. We haven’t reached that yet because we don’t have a quantum theory of gravity.”

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