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Building block of life found on comet
Reuters.com ^ | Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:45pm EDT | Steve Gorman

Posted on 08/17/2009 8:26:35 PM PDT by Gordon Greene

The amino acid glycine, a fundamental building block of proteins, has been found in a comet for the first time, bolstering the theory that raw ingredients of life arrived on Earth from outer space, scientists said on Monday.

Microscopic traces of glycine were discovered in a sample of particles retrieved from the tail of comet Wild 2 by the NASA spacecraft Stardust deep in the solar system some 242 million miles (390 million km) from Earth, in January 2004.

Samples of gas and dust collected on a small dish lined with a super-fluffy material called aerogel were returned to Earth two years later in a canister that detached from the spacecraft and landed by parachute in the Utah desert...

...The initial detection of glycine, the most common of 20 amino acids in proteins on Earth, was reported last year, but it took time for scientists to confirm that the compound in question was extraterrestrial in origin.

"We couldn't be sure it wasn't from the manufacturing or the handling of the spacecraft," said astrobiologist Jamie Elsila...

...She presented the findings, accepted for publication in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science, to a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C., this week.

"We've seen amino acids in meteorites before, but this is the first time it's been detected in a comet," she said...

...The latest findings add credence to the notion that extraterrestrial objects such as meteorites and comets may have seeded ancient Earth, and other planets, with the raw materials of life that formed elsewhere in the cosmos.

"The discovery of glycine in a comet supports the idea that the fundamental building blocks of life are prevalent in space, and strengthens the argument that life in the universe may be common rather than rare,"

(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Technical
KEYWORDS: comet; creation; evolution; exobiology; fallacy; originoflife; outerspace; panspermia
Here we go again... straining at gnats.
1 posted on 08/17/2009 8:26:35 PM PDT by Gordon Greene
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To: Gordon Greene

Oh, it wasn’t a big bang, it was a meteor shower. I’m convinced.


2 posted on 08/17/2009 8:31:42 PM PDT by WestwardHo (Whom the god would destroy, they first drive mad.)
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To: Gordon Greene

Let them find another water planet like Earth and then I’ll be impressed.


3 posted on 08/17/2009 8:31:42 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: Gordon Greene

when they had their budget plea last week a FReeper recommend they find “evidence of life” out there somewhere


4 posted on 08/17/2009 8:32:01 PM PDT by GeronL (bookmark my new FR back-up site - http://unitedcitizen.proboards.com)
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To: Gordon Greene

And how many amino acids are needed for ONE protein?


5 posted on 08/17/2009 8:33:34 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: TheFourthMagi

The Kepler probe is searching for canditates right now to check on with probes that’ll eventually detect oxygen and other evidences of life.


6 posted on 08/17/2009 8:33:57 PM PDT by Tolsti2
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To: TheFourthMagi
Let them find another water planet like Earth and then I’ll be impressed.

Why? There's water all over the solar system, including on Mars. Probably all over the universe.

7 posted on 08/17/2009 8:34:40 PM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: WestwardHo
Oh, it wasn’t a big bang, it was a meteor shower. I’m convinced.

Surely you're not so illiterate that you think that scientists believe life began in the Big Bang...

8 posted on 08/17/2009 8:36:53 PM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: metmom; GodGunsGuts; Fichori; All

Party at GG’s... Anyone bringing the chips and dip?

Unfortunately, I will have to attend tomorrow evening as I’m currently busy attempting to build a dolphin with some spare amino acid I found in the woodshed. So far all I have is a dorsal fin but all in good time...

By the way... it’s BYOB (Bring your own brain) so I doubt any Evolutionists will attend.


9 posted on 08/17/2009 8:47:03 PM PDT by Gordon Greene (www.fracturedrepublic.com - Jesus said, "I am THE way, THE truth and THE life." Any questions?)
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To: Alter Kaker; WestwardHo

“Surely you’re not so illiterate...”

You, my friend are probably the rudest person I’ve met on this site... to assume that WestwardHo is illiterate without ever having met his parents is a little more than presumptuous. If you have no proof his parents were unmarried when he was conceived then you should keep your accusations to yourself!

My word!!!


10 posted on 08/17/2009 8:51:51 PM PDT by Gordon Greene (www.fracturedrepublic.com - Jesus said, "I am THE way, THE truth and THE life." Any questions?)
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To: Gordon Greene
... You, my friend are probably the rudest person I’ve met on this site... to assume that WestwardHo is illiterate without ever having met his parents is a little more than presumptuous. If you have no proof his parents were unmarried when he was conceived then you should keep your accusations to yourself! ...

This is a joke, right?

11 posted on 08/17/2009 8:53:43 PM PDT by poindexters brother
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To: Gordon Greene

Straining at gnats? Those are huge compared to amino acids. Good luck with that dolphin :o)


12 posted on 08/17/2009 8:55:00 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: poindexters brother

“This is a joke, right?”

Why would you assume that? Honestly, it amazes me the things that call for a sarc tag around here. Yep... just spendin’ an evenin’ joshin’ with the Evo’s.


13 posted on 08/17/2009 8:56:27 PM PDT by Gordon Greene (www.fracturedrepublic.com - Jesus said, "I am THE way, THE truth and THE life." Any questions?)
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To: GodGunsGuts

“Good luck with that dolphin :o)”

Luckily, I won’t be eating it any time soon... not that there’s anything wrong with that <{{><


14 posted on 08/17/2009 8:58:14 PM PDT by Gordon Greene (www.fracturedrepublic.com - Jesus said, "I am THE way, THE truth and THE life." Any questions?)
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To: Alter Kaker

Not like on Earth.


15 posted on 08/17/2009 8:59:26 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: Gordon Greene

I don’t quite get it.

Somehow the “humanists” have come to the conclusion that if life exists somewhere other than earth - it proves there is no God. Don’t they understand that most of us that believe in a Supreme Being - believe that the Supreme Being is quite capable of creating life ANYWHERE, and bringing it to earth ANY WAY.

Human life, for example is believed to be divine creation. That belief is not diminished by the knowledge that the creator chooses to use sexual union to facilitate that creation.

Odd isn’t it, how the humanists can find the tiniest microscopic precursor of life to be of universe altering significance - but an actual human embryo to be less than nothing.


16 posted on 08/17/2009 9:00:28 PM PDT by crescen7 (game on)
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To: Gordon Greene

We are star dust
Billion-year-old carbon
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

— Joni Mitchell


17 posted on 08/17/2009 9:07:12 PM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (Rebellion is not brewing. Frog is brewing.)
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To: Gordon Greene
The amino acid glycine, a fundamental building block of proteins, has been found in a comet for the first time

Nah, that's just the bio-gunk left over from Harry Stamper (aka Bruce Willis) after he nuked the asteroid.

18 posted on 08/17/2009 9:17:12 PM PDT by RoadKingSE (How do you know that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a muzzle flash ?)
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To: Gordon Greene
Here is a photo of two of them:


Giant Building Blocks


19 posted on 08/17/2009 9:17:49 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Obama is in way over his ears.)
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To: Gordon Greene

Evos are the single most sarcasm and humor challenged group of people I’ve ever met.


20 posted on 08/17/2009 9:18:38 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: OneWingedShark
And how many amino acids are needed for ONE protein?

It depends on the size of the protein molecule. Glycine is C2H5NO2. If you are using the molecular weight of glycine (75) compared to a typical simple protein, say, myoglobin (roughly 18000), the ratio is around 240:1. For more complex proteins the number can be much higher.

21 posted on 08/17/2009 9:21:18 PM PDT by Gideon7
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To: Alter Kaker; TheFourthMagi
TFM: Let them find another water planet like Earth and then I’ll be impressed.

AK: Why? There's water all over the solar system, including on Mars. Probably all over the universe.

Can't evos ever discuss what's posted without building a strawman to knock down?

TFM said a water planet LIKE Earth, not just water in our solar system. Mars doesn't even come close to being a watery planet like Earth.

And *probably* all over the universe is nothing but sheer speculation. Unless you have some evidence that gives us reason to believe that there could be planets around the universe with the amount of water on them that Earth has, you're very desperately grasping at straws.

You certainly don't expect us to take your guess as fact, do you? Or even with any kind of credibility?

22 posted on 08/17/2009 9:25:04 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom; Alter Kaker
TFM said a water planet LIKE Earth, not just water in our solar system. Mars doesn't even come close to being a watery planet like Earth.

My point exactly.

23 posted on 08/17/2009 9:28:49 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: TheFourthMagi
Not like on Earth.

So? Water is extremely abundant. The odds of it existing in liquid form are extremely high. In fact, there are almost certainly places in our own solar system where liquid water has existed.

24 posted on 08/17/2009 9:38:11 PM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: OneWingedShark
And how many amino acids are needed for ONE protein?

Hundreds. Plus they can only be specific L-amino acids, they have to be in a specific arrangement, with none being out of place, none missing, and none added - if the protein is to function properly.

Of course, it gets a little more complicated when you consider the fact that there are 60,000+ proteins in every human cell.

25 posted on 08/17/2009 9:41:23 PM PDT by mtg
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To: metmom
TFM said a water planet LIKE Earth, not just water in our solar system. Mars doesn't even come close to being a watery planet like Earth.

That's sort of a silly argument, isn't it? Until the mid 1990s, scientists hadn't observed any planets outside of our solar system. Since then, scientists have discovered almost 400 of them. Are there earthlike planets out there? Probably, but it's kind of hard to get there to investigate. We know there are lots of planets and we know there is lots of water. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to put two and two together.

26 posted on 08/17/2009 9:42:20 PM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: metmom
And *probably* all over the universe is nothing but sheer speculation.

No, actually it's not speculation. Water is all over the universe. The Orion nebula alone produces enough water to fill all the Earth's oceans 60 times, EACH DAY!

Source: NASA

You should try learning about this stuff -- it's really fascinating.

27 posted on 08/17/2009 9:47:46 PM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: TheFourthMagi
Let them find another water planet like Earth and then I’ll be impressed.

Finding water on another planet would be just scratching the surface for the requirements of a planet being capable to sustain complex life.

28 posted on 08/17/2009 9:51:09 PM PDT by mtg
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To: TheFourthMagi
Let them find another water planet like Earth and then I’ll be impressed.

Yeah, with upwards of several trillion planets that likely exist throughout the the universe, I doubt if another has water.

:o

29 posted on 08/17/2009 10:08:26 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: mtg

Find a water planet, complex life will be found there too.


30 posted on 08/17/2009 10:24:38 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: Alter Kaker

Not seeking a historical trace, or hearing pontifications on presumed odds.

The thing is to find another world like this one.


31 posted on 08/17/2009 10:25:52 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: dragnet2

Find one.


32 posted on 08/17/2009 10:26:23 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: Gordon Greene

Glycine and several other amino acids are simple to synthesize in the lab or in nature under certain conditions. They are not necessarily associated with life.


33 posted on 08/18/2009 12:26:48 AM PDT by Mogollon (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Alter Kaker

You don’t need to go out of the solar system to find an “watery body”. Jupiter’s moon Europa is almost entirely water/ice. Life does exist in extremely cold locations, and below the surface of the external ice there is water... which means at least 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Life exists at our poles where it’s rarely above 33, so there’s no reason to think that underwater life cannot exist on Europa. It may exist there now.


34 posted on 08/18/2009 6:50:58 AM PDT by Teacher317
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To: TheFourthMagi
Find a water planet, complex life will be found there too.

You actually believe that any planet that has liquid water will automatically have complex life on it?

35 posted on 08/18/2009 8:08:19 AM PDT by mtg
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To: mtg

A water planet, with oceans, and lakes, and rivers, like Earth.

I feel quite assured that any such planet is very likely to have complex life.

Do you doubt that?


36 posted on 08/18/2009 8:07:58 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: TheFourthMagi
A water planet, with oceans, and lakes, and rivers, like Earth. I feel quite assured that any such planet is very likely to have complex life. Do you doubt that?

Water is just one of several requirements for sustaining complex life on a planet. A few more are:

1. A delicately balanced atmosphere that will filter out harmful radiation while allowing in needed radiation.

2. A non-synchronous orbit around its star. If one side of the planet always faces the star, one side of the planet would be in perpetual darkness and extreme cold, while the other side of the planet would be in perpetual light and extreme heat.

3. A moon of the right size and distance from the planet to cause tidal action in the oceans.

4. A magnetosphere around the planet to protect its atmosphere from being whisked away by solar winds.

5. Plant life: to produce photosynthesis; and as a food source (if there were only carnivores, it wouldn't take long for animals to eat themselves out of existence).

These are just a few of the requirements a planet would need to fulfill in order for complex life to exist. In fact, it has been calculated that the chances of a planet like earth could exist are: 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000. (and that's a conservative figure, btw)

Then you get into the complexities of the origin of life itself. Just the odds for the simplest protein in one cell originating by mere chance are at least: 1 X 10 to the 50th power. Then there are the other components of the cell that are needed for it to function: a protective membrane, cell nucleus, enzymes, ribosomes, different types of RNA, DNA, as well a other components; all needing to be in the right place at the same time for the cell to function.

Just for DNA alone, Bill Gates has pointed out - that just one strand of DNA in one single cell is far more complex than the most complex computer program man has ever devised. Does it sound like DNA could originate by mere chance, and if not, what mysterious, natural force creates DNA?

37 posted on 08/19/2009 8:12:29 AM PDT by mtg
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To: mtg

Find another water planet like Earth and we will see who is right about the likelihood of complex life thriving on it.


38 posted on 08/20/2009 6:33:38 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: mtg
Just for DNA alone, Bill Gates has pointed out - that just one strand of DNA in one single cell is far more complex than the most complex computer program man has ever devised. Does it sound like DNA could originate by mere chance, and if not, what mysterious, natural force creates DNA?

Nature is more complex than the most complex computer program.

Why should it be surprising that DNA figures into the extremely complex, intricate, and highly developed patterns of the natural world?

39 posted on 08/20/2009 6:39:13 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: TheFourthMagi
Why should it be surprising that DNA figures into the extremely complex, intricate, and highly developed patterns of the natural world?

So how do you explain the appearance of DNA and its encoding information?

Was it by "random" bonding of sugars, phosphates and nucleobases? Or were these chemicals bonded together by some mysterious, naturally "directed" process?

The odds would be impossible for the former to be true, and science can even come close to an explanation for the latter.

As to your question, it is not surprising that DNA figures into our complex world. In fact, its a requirement for the existence of life. The question that really needs to be answered is: "If life originated naturally, how do you explain the appearance of DNA"?

40 posted on 08/20/2009 9:42:04 PM PDT by mtg
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To: mtg
Was it by "random" bonding of sugars, phosphates and nucleobases? Or were these chemicals bonded together by some mysterious, naturally "directed" process?

Those aren't the only two answers, because nature isn't random. To the contrary, it is a very intricate interweaving of patterns and purposes.

41 posted on 08/21/2009 1:41:20 AM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: TheFourthMagi
Was it by "random" bonding of sugars, phosphates and nucleobases? Or were these chemicals bonded together by some mysterious, naturally "directed" process?

Those aren't the only two answers, because nature isn't random. To the contrary, it is a very intricate interweaving of patterns and purposes.

If you examine the two questions I presented, you will note that only the first question addresses a "random" theory approach. If DNA did not appear by random processes, then if would had to have been created by a process addressed in the second question.

You are really skirting the whole issue here by dodging the question of how the first DNA appeared. If natural processes created the first DNA, please enlighten me as to the scientific explanation for its appearance. To just simply keep restating that nature is intricate and complex answers absolutely nothing.

42 posted on 08/21/2009 7:01:18 AM PDT by mtg
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To: mtg
If natural processes created the first DNA, please enlighten me as to the scientific explanation for its appearance.

There are many theories; I am not a proponent of any specific one.

However, the best answer is that things that work together are naturally drawn together.

A related fact is this: where DNA resulted from an A-B-C-D process, which is the only rational presupposition, that A-B-C-D process is what brought DNA to fruition whether that process was directed or arose non-randomly out of the very non-random harmony of the natural universe.

If DNA did not appear by random processes, then if would had to have been created by a process addressed in the second question.

That is a statement without substantiation. You contend that either DNA has to have appeared by random processes or it must be produced by a mysterious director.

I don't accept your claim of a limit of only those two possible options.

One can set aside the mysterious director option for just a moment, and dispute the premise of the other option that you put forth by noting that occurrences in nature are not in any way required to be random.

Quite the opposite: things happen because of their nature, and because of the nature of the things that affect them. That holds true for nature, and it holds true for people.

I could put together the components of a rather involved ecosystem under the right conditions, and they would hopefully (and distinctly probably) form that ecosystem. No mysterious director would have stepped in during the process, and what would happen would not be random.

Instead, per the blueprint offered a couple of paragraphs up, the components act together according to their nature and the effect of each on the other.

I would contend that DNA developed in the same way: the component parts came together in accordance with their nature and the effect of their nature on each other.

The opposite of randomness, but rather according to a beauty of natural design.

Of course, one could make a case for the nature of the component parts having an architect.

43 posted on 08/21/2009 5:50:19 PM PDT by TheFourthMagi
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To: TheFourthMagi
Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree.

You believe that a planet need only have an abundance of liquid water for the probability of complex life to exist. I have to respectfully disagree. Although water is a crucial element for life, I believe a planet would need to meet numerous other requirements to sustain complex life.

You also believe that life can originate naturally (either randomly or by some act(s) of nature). Here again, I must disagree. I believe even the simplest form of life is far too complex to have originated randomly or by natural processes.

Differences of opinion, yet life goes on.

44 posted on 08/23/2009 3:11:34 PM PDT by mtg
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