Did Mercury once have the ingredients for life?

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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It's possible that Mercury once held the ingredients for life.

Did Mercury once have the ingredients for life? : Read more
I find the report here on Mercury very interesting in view of another report on LHB dating. I note this from the published paper on Mercury cited in the space.com report: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-59885-5

[There is a significant body of work that has attempted to determine the Caloris basin’s age. Crater dating of the basin’s interior and peripheral plains, as well as of its rim materials, yield ages that range between ~3.9 and ~3.7 Ga22,28,29,30,31.]

The crater dating for this basin on Mercury uses the LHB model but other reports contradict the LHB now. From the phys.org report, “Nor is it without controversies. Until recently, the solar system was thought to have acquired its present features as a result of a period of turbulence that occurred some 700 million years after its formation. However, some of the latest research suggests it took shape in the more remote past, at some stage during the first 100 million years.”
https://phys.org/news/2020-03-solar-current-configuration-formation.html

Okay, ponder the age for crater dating on Mercury in view of the phys.org report. Basically, no LHB period apparently. Dating crates and surfaces of planets in the solar system is getting fun 😊---Rod
 
Mar 19, 2020
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Dating craters would be fun, but looking for life's building blocks is right up there with it.

Almost anyone with significant knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry will tell you that life on earth is likely the only chemical form it will take anywhere in the universe (yeah, you have all heard this before). This is due to the reactivity and variable stability of carbon-based compounds. All other scenarios are logically ruled out due to the chemical complexity and stability features required for life.

Moving along, life requires four primary elements: Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen (COHN). From these four elements you can make 18 of the 20 amino acids used in proteins (sulfur is required for the other two). COHN also make up all the structures of nucleic acids with the exception of phosphorus. Carbohydrates and lipids, the last of the "Big Four" biochemical classes, are also made up largely of C, H and O, with some also using phosphorus. Of course many other elements are used on earth, mostly metallic elements for enzyme reactions, structural features (bone) etc. Elements for life other than COHN are easily found as minerals, and usually exist as such at any rate.

All of these elements can in fact exist in a solid state (minerals - carbonates, nitrates etc.), with the exception of hydrogen. I am not a geologist but I do not think minerals can be a significant source of hydrogen (hydrates of minerals would not be stable at high temperatures). Someone please correct me if this is wrong. If this is correct, on Mercury we would need to get hydrogen from comet-derived water ice in perpetually shaded craters (assuming they exist). I believe such water has been found on the moon.

In other words, most rocky planets should have the elements of life locked up in solids and not require volatiles, although the latter would likely make life much easier to arise and evolve. But you could theoretically start from minerals, add enough water for hydrogen and that all important aqueous milieu, and with the right temperature and stable conditions for extended periods, start cooking up some life forms.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Okay, Mercury may have or had the *ingredients for life* according to this report. Apparently the formula we have is add some water, find the correct temperature, give it enough time, and spontaneous combustion of life from non-living matter is inevitable. Reports like this remind me of past science reports on life on Mars. Martians Get Their Water from the Poles (1907) and Beings That Are Smarter Than Humans Inhabit the Galaxy Originally published in July 1943

Looks like Louis Pasteur experiments failed to observe the spontaneous combustion of life from non-living matter, perhaps he did not have enough time to see this.
 
Mar 19, 2020
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The proposal is not spontaneous combustion. It is called abiogenesis, and would likely take millions of years.

The details provided are only the bare bones requirements on such a hostile world.

After all, we are certain that it happened at least once already on another rocky planet!
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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The proposal is not spontaneous combustion. It is called abiogenesis, and would likely take millions of years.

The details provided are only the bare bones requirements on such a hostile world.

After all, we are certain that it happened at least once already!
Unfortunately, based upon the fossil record, life's last common ancestor is not documented (the first, living cell) and its ancestor as non-living matter that evolved into life's last common ancestor is not shown either. From the Precambrian, Cambrian explosion through Cenozoic, we see the law of biogenesis at work, just like Louis Pasteur experiments showed with numerous missing links, and now more than 3200 living fossils documented that go way back in the fossil record.
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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Quite right on the fossil record. None of those early forms could be preserved. Just a mess of fragile chemicals. But still, much remains to be learned in the fossil record. Sadly, none of it will provide the answers to the extraordinary complexity of abiogensis.

Do you have knowledge of a source of hydrogen in a mineral form other than hydrates? And water was found in lunar craters, right?

Surely this story caught some attention:

 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Yes the evolutionary worm caught much press attention but no ancestor fossil showing it evolved from non-living matter was presented in the reports, the worm still came from life so biogenesis, not abiogenesis. The entire fossil record shows the law of biogenesis at work (as Louis Pasteur experiments confirm), not abiogenesis. The big problem in the worm story, since Feb-2013, there are more than 3200 living fossils published in science going back to the Cambrian and no evolutionary transformation is shown. Some living fossils are now dated 1 billion years old, algae types. Darwin's life's last common ancestor, the first living cell is not found and neither is the ancestry from non-living matter for this first living cell documented in the fossil record. Abiogenesis is not documented in the fossil record, the law of biogenesis is seen.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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FYI. From a source I know and use, "Evolutionary scientists announced the discovery of what they claim are the oldest green-algae fossils—which look remarkably like modern, living seaweeds. The millimeter-sized, multicellular plant fossils were found in China in rocks claimed to be over one billion years old.1"

Yes, now some living fossils may date back one billion years and exhibit little or no evolutionary changes. The fossil record establishes the law of biogenesis, not abiogenesis at work over time.
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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Clearly the fossil record will never show abiogenesis at any point in its sequence - simply no hard parts. But unless one believe in godly interventions, it must have happened here, or we would not be debating it. I do not buy into life from outer space seeding the universe either. And even if it did, abiogenesis would have had to occur somewhere, or by the magic wand of a deity.

(Many people believe in the "magic wand theory" )

Yes, it appears algae fossils are the oldest. I have read about Stromatolite fossils in Australia dating to over 3 bya, but the search on Wiki is now saying "They peaked about 1.25 billion years ago."


The living fossils you mention are truely amazing. The horseshoe crab being one of the most famous. It is astonishing how long they have survived nearly unchanged.
 
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