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NASA scientists build a "primary ocean" to restore livelihoods



  enceladus-thermal-jets.jpg

The ocean under the moon Enceladus may contain the necessary ingredients to begin life.


NASA / JPL-Caltech

If life can find a way to thrive in the deepest depths of the oceans of the Earth, which prevents him from living in other places in space?

This is a question that astrobiologists are trying to answer from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). They also come across the idea that they recreated the deep ocean conditions in the laboratory, finding the building blocks of life, really formed at the bottom of the ocean about 4 billion years ago.

Sunlight can not penetrate miles of water to reach the ocean floor, making it wonderfully cold and absolutely dark place. But around hydrothermal openings – holes in the ocean floor, emitting heated water and material from the earth's crust – scientists continue to find lively megacities full of extreme deep-water organisms. Gateways provide a place where life does not require sunlight to survive; instead, it can feed on a buffet with chemicals that are formed in exciting black chimneys that boil from the ocean floor.

I believe that the hypothesis that the life of the vents is the best we have at present, "says Lucy Stewart, a marine microbiologist from GNS Science, New Zealand, who was not a member of the" with research.

Astrobiologists at JPL Laurie Barge, thought the same line. To study this problem, they recreated deep ocean conditions in standard laboratory measurements, helping to understand how life can slowly gather together in the early days of the Earth.

The team released its own young ocean-in-A-Glass, containing water, minerals and ammonia and pyruvate molecules, which are commonly found near hydrothermal openings and are considered as precursors of building blocks of life. Heating the mixture to a temperature of degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) and reducing the oxygen content provided them with a laboratory model of the conditions of the "primary ocean."

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Flores hydrothermal chimney build-up

Their findings, published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" of February 25, show that their laboratory-built hydrothermal ventilation openings are places where building blocks of life – amino acids can be formed.

In the early Earth aquarium, one prominent amino acid was produced: alanine. The molecule is considered critical for the synthesis of proteins that perform a dizzying series of normal functions in bacteria to humans. The team also found lactate, which, according to some scientists, may also be a precursor molecule that allows a life to flourish.

"We have shown that in geological conditions, similar to the early Earth, and possibly to other planets, we can form amino acids and alpha-hydroxy acids with a simple reaction in the conditions that would exist on the seabed "It's important to note that NASA's research team did not create a" life "in this experiment, but it showed how building blocks that eventually become could be found in the deep ocean around these vents. 19659006] "The researchers of the origin of life still follow all the steps of m is "simple organic compounds" and "living organism" – said Stewart. "Knowing how they can be created on a hydrothermal hole is another step towards understanding how the full biogenesis process can play 4 billion years ago." Subsequent studies will continue to study their laboratory ocean to find other potential amino acids and precursor molecules.

The findings of the team are the foundation that other researchers could use to better select space in space that could consolidate life, and they already feel good in several interplanetary locations. For example, Enceladus, the sixth largest month of Saturn, is an ice marble of the world covered with a thick layer of ice. Scientists have discovered complex molecules on Enceladus and believe that the oceans under its frozen appearance may also have hydrothermal vents.

life could exist, – explained Barge.

This gives some hope that life can hide in our own backyard. I mean, if we can create building blocks in a glass bowl in Pasadena, California, maybe life can find a way under the ice of the distant month too.

Originally posted on February 25th at 4.31pm. Pt
Update, 5.54pm PT: Added comments by Lucy Stewart.


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