May 19, 2024
Study reveals life in the universe could be common, but not in our neighborhood
"Statistically speaking, the matter in such a volume should only be able to produce RNA of about 20 nucleotides. But it's calculated that, thanks to rapid inflation, the universe may contain more than 1 googol (10100) stars, and if this is the case then more complex, life-sustaining RNA structures are more than just probable, they're practically inevitable.": Tomonori Totani
“Statistically speaking, the matter in such a volume should only be able to produce RNA of about 20 nucleotides. But it’s calculated that, thanks to rapid inflation, the universe may contain more than 1 googol (10100) stars, and if this is the case then more complex, life-sustaining RNA structures are more than just probable, they’re practically inevitable.”: Tomonori Totani

To help answer one of the great existential questions—how did life begin?—a new study combines biological and cosmological models. Professor Tomonori Totani from the Department of Astronomy looked at how life’s building blocks could spontaneously form in the universe—a process known as abiogenesis.

If there’s one thing in the universe that is certain, it’s that life exists. It must have begun at some point in time, somewhere. But despite all we know from biology and physics, the exact details about how and when life began, and also whether it began elsewhere, are largely speculative. This enticing omission from our collective knowledge has set many curious scientists on a journey to uncover some new detail which might shed light on existence itself.

As the only life we know of is based on Earth, studies on life’s origins are limited to the specific conditions we find here. Therefore, most research in this area looks at the most basic components common to all known living things: ribonucleic acid, or RNA. This is a far simpler and more essential molecule than the more famous deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, that defines how we are put together. But RNA is still orders of magnitude more complex than the kinds of chemicals one tends to find floating around in space or stuck to the face of a lifeless planet.

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See Also:

(1) Dark matter breakthrough: Big Bang study ‘answers biggest question in science’

(2) Scientists seize rare chance to watch faraway star system evolve

(3) What is a Generation Ship?

(4) How better propulsion systems can improve space exploration

(5) Less than infinite: Space is becoming an orbital landfill

(6) This is how ESA telescope Euclid is going to visualize dark matter

(7) The New Horizons spacecraft just revealed secrets of the most distant object we’ve ever visited

(8) Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars

(9) Nobody knows what’s going on with nearby supergiant star Betelgeuse

(10) ALMA spots metamorphosing aged star

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