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Who’s Out There?—Focusing On Chemicals

17 Mar 2018, 13:27 UTC
Who’s Out There?—Focusing  On Chemicals
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On the early Earth, marine aerosols could come in two sizes—bacterial and viral—which might have aided the transition from geochemistry to biochemistry, since they are “…energetically capable of asymmetric division.” As reported by D.J.Donaldson. H.Tervahattu and A.F.Tuck (ISSN 1573-0875), such marine aerosols were found to have an exterior film of palmitic, stearic and oleic acids.
EOS.org or October 2017 p. 26 points out that the carbonyl sulfide in a planet’s atmosphere could track photosynthesis, thus suggesting the presence of plant life on exoplanets. More about sniffing atmospheres will be coming when the new telescopes go to work this year.
Science News Sept.2, 2017 reports that the “compound predicted to form membrane-like structures”—vinyl cyanide—is created in Titan’s upper atmosphere and could make flexible bubbles stable in its liquid methane lakes. Such bubbles could act as a shelter for genetic material. Possibly, genes could be made from the carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen detected in the moon’s atmosphere. So far, a vinyl chloride signature has been detected on Titan, but detection of cell-like bubbles would require a probe to sample the moon’s methane seas.
The south pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus is still putting out more than 1000 geysers containing ammonia and organic ...

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