Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Spermatozoa Galactinus
They Don't Call It The Milky Way For Nothin'


From Space.com:


The idea that comets and meteorites seeded an early Earth with the tools to make life has gained momentum from recent observations of some of these building blocks floating throughout the cosmos.

Scientists scanning a galaxy 12 million light-years away with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope detected copious amounts of nitrogen containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), molecules critical to all known forms of life.

PAHs carry information for DNA and RNA and are an important component of hemoglobin, the molecule that transports oxygen through the body. They also make chlorophyll, the main molecule responsible for photosynthesis in plants, and – perhaps most importantly – they're the main ingredient in caffeine and chocolate.

"There once was a time that the assumption was that the origin of life, everything from building simple compounds up to complex life, had to happen here on Earth," said study leader Doug Hudgins of Ames Research Center. "We've discovered that some very biologically interesting molecules can be formed outside our earthly environment and delivered here."
Wherever there's a planet ...


While organic compounds have been discovered in meteorites that have landed on Earth, this is the first direct evidence for the presence of complex, important biogenic compounds in space. So far evidence suggests that PAHs are formed in the winds of dying stars and spread all over interstellar space.

"This stuff contains the building blocks of life, and now we can say they're abundant in space," Hudgins said. "And wherever there's a planet out there, we know that these things are going to be raining down on it. It did here and it does elsewhere."


I think I need a shower.