Other life? Chemical evidence on Venus? (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, October 08, 2020, 19:31 (17 days ago) @ David Turell

Another thought that another reactions may create it:


"...we don’t really know how microbes on Earth actually make phosphine: is it a direct product of metabolism or a consequence of metabolic products mingling with environmental chemistry? There is even evidence that ordinary iron, with phosphorus containing impurities, can react with sulfuric acid and produce plenty of phosphine at room temperature; an intriguing option for iron-rich meteoritic material raining onto acidic clouds.


"Even when you can go and collect samples directly, like on Mars or Venus, sniffing out anything but the simplest molecules is hard. If an ecosystem is sparse—as it might be in Venus’s cloud layers—you might have to spend a lot of time looking. Indeed, right here on Earth it’s taken us a shockingly long time to fully appreciate the presence and life cycle of atmospheric microbial life, and that’s when you can literally climb a mountain and grab samples.

"All of this may sound rather depressing for our quest to find life in the universe. But I think that there is something extremely interesting buried in the very fact that all of this is so terribly difficult. It is truly fascinating that life, which to us on a day-to-day basis is such a vibrant and explosive phenomenon, is also so very elusive. That’s true of the microbial world here on Earth as much as for elsewhere. What is it that makes life simultaneously so colorful but hidden?

"The answer may circle back to the statement I made previously, that life’s standout feature is that it uses and builds the most complex molecules we know of, from DNA to proteins. Complex molecules are naturally information-rich, in the truest most objective sense given by information theory and Shannon’s entropy. But they are also, in effect, deeply encrypted. DNA in a cell “decodes” itself with the help of an entire entourage of biochemical helpers. It’s taken us centuries to see how some of this works, and we’re far from finished.

Comment: Venus life or not? We need to go there to find out." The bold tells us about the problems we still have here in understanding life.

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