Wednesday, June 17, 2009


(c)copyright R. E. Morel 2009. All rights reserved.

Quiz answer:
This photo shows substances similar to material that was deposited on Earth long ago from meteors and comets. One theory of the origin of life proposes that space debris like this provided one fundamental requirement for the genesis of life—a container. All life is composed of containers called cells, and, within them, the enormously complex transactions between matter and energy, the biochemistry of life, move at blinding speeds. Containers like the ones in the photo could have provided the opportunity to house and concentrate early chemical reactions. This could have led to a progression toward more and more complex and organized systems of chemical reactions. At its most basic level, that is what life is—biochemistry in a container!

But the complexity of even a single living cell is mind boggling, far more organized than just jumbles of chemical reactions.. Why did such a seemingly impossible complexity develop? That's where our cosmic theme comes in. Remember, in everything from cosmic dust clouds forming stars to candles and their flames, matter and energy "discover" the best ways to generate dispersal. And that means generating organized dynamic forms, like cells.

Long before life began on our planet, energy from the sun was constantly driving countless chemical reactions. Many of the substances that resulted were tightly packaged matter and energy. These substances represented the same sort of packaging we see in cosmic dust clouds and candles. In other words, the Earthly primordium eventually became home to matter that was ripe for dispersal. And life, just like a sun or a flame, became the "discovery" that represented the best solution for "unpackaging" concentrated matter and energy.

Next we'll discover more about life's synchrony with a cosmic theme. In the meantime, what's this photo about?

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