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Substantial Lack Of Phosphorus In The Universe Makes Finding Alien Life Unlikely
Tech Times ^ | 4/5/18 | Allan Adamson

Posted on 04/05/2018 11:49:13 AM PDT by LibWhacker

Amid efforts to find alien life, scientists have not yet confirmed the existence of an extraterrestrial civilization. Findings of a new study suggest this has something do with the element phosphorus lacking in the cosmos.

Life-Giving Phosphorus

Phosphorus is the 11th most common element on Earth, and it is fundamental to all living things. Phosphorus is one of only six chemical elements on our planet that organisms depend on.

"[Phosphorus] helps form the backbone of the long chains of nucleotides that create RNA and DNA; it is part of the phospholipids in cell membranes; and is a building block of the coenzyme used as an energy carrier in cells, adenosine triphosphate (ATP)," NASA said.

Astronomers have been hunting for phosphorus in the universe because of the role it plays in life on Earth. If the element is lacking in other parts of the cosmos, it could be difficult for alien life to exist.

A new study presented at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science meeting now suggests that life as we know it is more unusual than previously thought because the universe substantially lacks phosphorus.

Phosphorus From Supernovae

Study researcher Jane Greaves, from the University of Cardiff, and colleagues, found that the reason our planet got enough of the element is because it is close enough to a supernova.

Phosphorus is formed in supernovae when massive stars explode at the end of their lives, but the researchers found that the typical supernova may not provide the right conditions to forge the element. Earth just happened to be in close proximity to the right kind of supernova, making it unusually lucky.

The researchers made their conclusion based on observations of two supernova remnants, the Crab Nebula and Cassiopeia A (Cas A). The found that Cas A appears to have more phosphorus than Crab Nebula. The researchers theorize that the latter had more reactions that made phosphorus because it was denser or more massive.

The findings hint that material blown out into space may dramatically vary in composition. The researchers said that some of the phosphorus-bearing minerals such as those in meteorites that came to Earth may have been reactive enough to contribute to the making of proto-biomolecules.

If phosphorus comes from supernova and travels across space in meteoritic rock, the researchers wondered if young planets near the wrong kind of supernova may find themselves lacking in reactive phosphorus.

"In that case, life might really struggle to get started out of phosphorus-poor chemistry, on another world otherwise similar to our own," Greaves said.


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: astronomy; cassiopeiaa; crabnebula; dna; janegreaves; life; nucleotides; panspermia; phosphorus; rna; science; supernovae; universe; unlikely; xplanets
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1 posted on 04/05/2018 11:49:13 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

They’re already here. Mining our phosphorus.


2 posted on 04/05/2018 11:52:07 AM PDT by mindburglar (I have an above average brain stem)
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To: LibWhacker

Aliens would never know what a CRT is.


3 posted on 04/05/2018 11:52:57 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: LibWhacker
"Whether a life-form is based upon carbon or silicon makes no fundamental difference!"
4 posted on 04/05/2018 11:56:36 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Perhaps we should care less about who we may offend and care more about who we may inspire.)
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To: LibWhacker

No wonder the mother ship send down a probe last night, and it stole all my matches.

Complete nonsense.


5 posted on 04/05/2018 11:57:19 AM PDT by I want the USA back (Lying Media: willing and eager allies of the hate-America left. PS. f*ck the media.)
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To: LibWhacker

“Earth just happened to be in close proximity to the right kind of supernova, making it unusually lucky.”

That’s one way to put it.

On the other hand - if one believes in evolution, why would a presence of phosphorous be one of the keys? Things would just evolve differently without it.


6 posted on 04/05/2018 11:57:24 AM PDT by 21twelve
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To: LibWhacker

I believe mathematicians have calculated the odds of our situation — just the right kind of planet, atmosphere, sun, moon, size of moon, distance of moon, etc.

When you add up all of the very special things that are needed for us to actually exist on this planet as living beings, it becomes darn close to statistically impossible (without some like of *ahem* miracle).

And now I guess we have to factor in Phosphorus, making it that much more miraculous.


7 posted on 04/05/2018 11:57:59 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (I'm still somewhat onboard but very disappointed. Not so much "Winning" lately.)
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To: LibWhacker

Interesting. Thanks for posting.


8 posted on 04/05/2018 11:59:02 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: I want the USA back

Where there are matches to light farts, there will be life.


9 posted on 04/05/2018 11:59:08 AM PDT by Fightin Whitey
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To: LibWhacker
Substantial Lack Of Phosphorus In The Universe Makes Finding Alien Earth-like Life Unlikely
10 posted on 04/05/2018 12:05:35 PM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
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To: Yo-Yo

They would have LED’s..........................


11 posted on 04/05/2018 12:10:40 PM PDT by Red Badger (The people who call Trump a tyrant are the same people who want the president to confiscate weapons.)
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To: LibWhacker

Anthropomorphizing alien life is bad science, bad philosophy, and just plain stupid.


12 posted on 04/05/2018 12:12:32 PM PDT by cgbg (Hidden behind the social justice warrior mask is corruption and sexual deviance.)
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To: Red Badger

Not in white!


13 posted on 04/05/2018 12:14:47 PM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: cgbg

Do not anthropomorphize alien life. It doesn’t like it when you do that.


14 posted on 04/05/2018 12:15:12 PM PDT by Corey Ohlis (Visualize Swirled Peas)
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To: Yo-Yo

R+Y+G.......................


15 posted on 04/05/2018 12:17:05 PM PDT by Red Badger (The people who call Trump a tyrant are the same people who want the president to confiscate weapons.)
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To: Fightin Whitey

Lol, because all life likes to have a good time?


16 posted on 04/05/2018 12:21:10 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: Red Badger
Curse you, Red Badger!


17 posted on 04/05/2018 12:21:40 PM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: ClearCase_guy

When you add up all of the very special things that are needed for us to actually exist on this planet as living beings, it becomes darn close to statistically impossible (without some like of *ahem* miracle).

...

Or something like the Participatory Anthropic Principle. There is much more evidence that life is highly improbable besides the scarcity of phosphorous (this is the first I’ve heard of it).


18 posted on 04/05/2018 12:22:33 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Make America Great Again!)
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To: PIF

Even Earth-like life is rare on Earth and rarer in the Solar System. Only about 3 parts per billion of the mass of the Earth is biomass. And even on a life friendly planet like ours it took billions of years just for life to show up on land.


19 posted on 04/05/2018 12:25:22 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Make America Great Again!)
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To: cgbg

There’s good reason to be a carbon chauvinist.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_chauvinism


20 posted on 04/05/2018 12:28:09 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Make America Great Again!)
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