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Enceladus - Could there be some form of life here?

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Interesting 6:46 video. Space.com has a number of reports on Enceladus and searching for life there. https://www.space.com/enceladus-orbilander-life-detection-planetary-protection

A key concept similar to the video in the space.com report, "Enceladus' vulnerability, and promise, is its subsurface ocean, which vents out into space through plumes in the moon's southern hemisphere. That ocean is home to organic chemistry, water and energy, the three components that scientists have identified as crucial for life."

These conditions all exist in Antarctica and meteorite studies continue, example. More than 5,000 tons of extraterrestrial dust fall to Earth each year, https://phys.org/news/2021-04-tons-extraterrestrial-fall-earth-year.html

My observation. Note the ending of the report. "This is valuable information to better understand the role played by these interplanetary dust particles in supplying water and carbonaceous molecules on the young Earth."

My observation. The young Earth must have the stuff of life delivered to it during catastrophism in the early solar system. After the Earth forms, abiogenesis takes over to create life from this material delivered via catastrophism in the early solar system. Yet today we see an abundance of this material still falling on Earth. Where is abiogenesis documented showing life evolving from this non-living matter?

For life to evolve on Enceladus, abiogenesis is assumed to have taken place there, likely during early solar system catastrophism delivering the stuff of life to Enceladus (just like early Earth), thus life could still be there today. This seems a critical assumption made concerning life on Enceladus in the video and space.com report.
 
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Catastrophe

There never was a good war, or a bad peace
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Rod
"After the Earth forms, abiogenesis takes over to create life from this material delivered via catastrophism in the early solar system. Yet today we see an abundance of this material still falling on Earth. Where is abiogenesis documented showing life evolving from this non-living matter?" My emphsis.

Presumably any newly forming life would be in competition with existing life forms and, if similar in starting material and similar in potential evolutionary patheays, it would be in competition with existing life and lacking the already filled niches. Alternatively, how would you distinguish between "new" life or "old" life formed from the same starting materials?

Cat :)
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Cat, concerning your question in post #4. Consider what Charles Darwin said in a private letter in 1882.

"Though no evidence worth anything has as yet, in my opinion, been advanced in favor of a living being being developed from inorganic matter, yet I cannot avoid believing the possibility of this will be proved some day in accordance with the law of continuity.1", Charles Darwin, 1. “To Daniel Mackintosh 28 February 1882,” Darwin Correspondence Project, letter 13711, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-13711.

Cat, are you claiming that Charles Darwin statement is now documented in science to be true by studying meteorite dust that fell in Antarctica and observed to evolve into life? The alternative is that Charles Darwin statement *Though no evidence worth anything has yet, in my opinion, been advanced in favor of a living being developed from inorganic matter...* still stands true in science observations of nature today.

The public needs transparency here, not obfuscation.
 
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Catastrophe

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Rod,
I had not realised that Darwin had written a private letter to you, and obviously I had not been appraised of the contents until now ;)

I had hoped that we could engage in intelligent conversation so long as we avoided difficult areas. L had not realised that any of my post #4 came into that category, as I considered it to be an entirely logical reply to your quoted material. I cannot see any obfuscation.

Nevertheless, I do not wish to engage in another difficult interchange, so you may consider my post #4 withdrawn, and leave it at that.

How does it go? ""There never was a good war, or a bad peace." · Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Sir Joseph Banks (July 27, 1983).

Cat :)
 

Catastrophe

There never was a good war, or a bad peace
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Cat, *How does it go?* At my end very well Cat, thanks. Sorry to hear about the passing of Prince Philip this morning, Prince Philip, Longtime Husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Dies at 99, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/prince-philip-longtime-husband-of-queen-elizabeth-ii-dies-at-99/ar-BB1ftivR?ocid=msedgdhp

Philip was a WWII hero---Rod
Rod, Many sincere thanks for your good wishes. I hope the loss of this great man will not precipitate any more bad news. I am poised on the brink regarding the monarchy. I hope to live long enough to see King William and Queen Kate. Charles has not been a lucky name in our history. Say no more.
My apoogies for this brief intrusion into this Enceladus thread, but I feel that we have lost a "King" and join in wishing our Queen many more years to come.

Cat :)
 

Catastrophe

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Regarding Enceladus, I consider there are defnite possibilities even now for some of the outer moons where internal/frictional heat replaces solar energy. Liquid water, even slightly above 273K is a good start. Of course, most chemical reactions are slowed by low temperatures and it may be that there will be a "new wave" when our shining star decides to grow somewhat in a few billion years time.

I do believe that, bearing in mind the apparent abundance of organic molecules, simple life forms will be commonplace in the galaxies. Intelligent life will/may be found to be very considerably less abundant, but the Universe is large enough even for more of this too. Communication will be, of course, severely limited by the vast distances..

Cat :)

P.S. I am a little surprised that, talking about chemical reactions, the normal word ret***ed was replaced by ********. I can see that this word should be censored in other contexts, but it is absolutely normal in scientific literature and is in no way considered derogatory when applied to chemical reactions. It is rather more elegant than "slowed down".

It even replaces it in this C & P:

Why Are Some Reactions Slower at Higher Temperatures ...
https://pubs.acs.org › doi › abs



by LE Revell · 2013 · Cited by 55 — It is well understood by most chemistry students at advanced undergraduate levels that chemical reactions generally follow the Arrhenius law of temperature ... that the rates of some Arrhenius-compliant reactions are ******** by ... and Thermostability of Cold-active Pseudomonas AMS8 Lipase in Toluene.
 
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Wolfshadw

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P.S. I am a little surprised that, talking about chemical reactions, the normal word ret***ed was replaced by ********. I can see that this word should be censored in other contexts, but it is absolutely normal in scientific literature and is in no way considered derogatory when applied to chemical reactions. It is rather more elegant than "slowed down".
It is a function of the forum software. Context is not taken into account. Either allow the word or you don't, so these situations will arise from time to time.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled forum discussion.

Wolfshadw
Moderator

P.S. Sympathies as well.
 
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Catastrophe

There never was a good war, or a bad peace
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It is a function of the forum software. Context is not taken into account. Either allow the word or you don't, so these situations will arise from time to time.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled forum discussion.

Wolfshadw
Moderator

P.S. Sympathies as well.Many
Many thanks. I do understand. Would you like me to delete the P.S. part? No problem.
Cat :)
 
Feb 3, 2020
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Water, organic compounds & energy. Check. The fuel for sustainment of life certainly appears to be available . As on earth, what is not clear is how life might have begun.

If I recall biology correctly, life requires cells. Creating a cell - not so easy.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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What is the time constraints here at Europa concerning when life evolved via abiogenesis (Charles Darwin thought life could arise by chemical actions from non-living matter on Earth in a warm little pond)?

Here is an interesting report for Earth from 2018 attempting to define time constraints on the origin of life. The arXiv paper is 43 pages.

Constraining the Time Interval for the Origin of Life on Earth, https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2018AsBio..18..343P/abstract, March 2018. "Estimates of the time at which life arose on Earth make use of two types of evidence. First, astrophysical and geophysical studies provide a timescale for the formation of Earth and the Moon, for large impact events on early Earth, and for the cooling of the early magma ocean. From this evidence, we can deduce a habitability boundary, which is the earliest point at which Earth became habitable. Second, biosignatures in geological samples, including microfossils, stromatolites, and chemical isotope ratios, provide evidence for when life was actually present. From these observations we can deduce a biosignature boundary, which is the earliest point at which there is clear evidence that life existed...The time taken for life to appear could, therefore, be within 200 Myr or as long as 800 Myr."

Any time constraints at Europa for the origin of life there concerning when such life could evolve at Europa after its formation via catastrophic processes in the early solar system? Also what is the *habitability boundary* at Europa?

The 43 page report concludes "Given these two cases, if life emerged on a timescale of less than 800 million years, does this say anything about ubiquity of life on habitable planets throughout the Universe? In truth we cannot make this conclusion, as the Earth is a sample size of n = 1. In other words, there is a strong selection bias in estimating the probability of life emerging elsewhere in the Universe. Indeed it has been argued that if intelligent life requires a great deal of time to evolve, Earth may be a rare planet, on which life got started unusually early (Carter 1983)."
 

Catastrophe

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"The time taken for life to appear could, therefore, be within 200 Myr or as long as 800 Myr."

A mere millisecond in the ticking of a clock. Sounds ripe for expansion.

Cat :)
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Post #15 appeals to the cosmic creator, Father Time. The material presented in post #14 and direct application to Enceladus is ignored.
 
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Catastrophe

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Rod, I do not undeerstand your comment. This:
"The time taken for life to appear could, therefore, be within 200 Myr or as long as 800 Myr."
is the last line, quoted from your reference in post #14.

I was simply expressing the opinion that this seemed quite a short time for the development of life.

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."

Cat :)
 
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To me, Abiogenesis is an interesting theory on a number of levels. First, the idea that a machine like a cell "just appeared" is amazing. At the simplest level I believe cells need some kind of an enclosure, a metabolic system, and a way to copy themselves and pass along genetic info. Assuming the "detail parts" of those requirements were created in a warm little pond, the self-assembling machine seems a bit tricky.

Time is an issue as well. I don't believe the 3 or 4 billion year old fossils are the simplest of cells. So they must have undergone some evolution. Is a billion or so years enough ?

Of course I don't know the answers.
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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To me, Abiogenesis is an interesting theory on a number of levels. First, the idea that a machine like a cell "just appeared" is amazing. At the simplest level I believe cells need some kind of an enclosure, a metabolic system, and a way to copy themselves and pass along genetic info. Assuming the "detail parts" of those requirements were created in a warm little pond, the self-assembling machine seems a bit tricky.

Time is an issue as well. I don't believe the 3 or 4 billion year old fossils are the simplest of cells. So they must have undergone some evolution. Is a billion or so years enough ?

Of course I don't know the answers.
KC Strom, you may enjoy this report. 'Chance played a role in determining whether Earth stayed habitable', https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-020-00057-8, December 2020. "Abstract Earth’s climate has remained continuously habitable throughout 3 or 4 billion years. This presents a puzzle (the ‘habitability problem’) because loss of habitability appears to have been more likely. Solar luminosity has increased by 30% over this time, which would, if not counteracted, have caused sterility..."

My observation. This simulation report suggests many exoplanets may not be habitable for extended periods of time according to the BB cosmology time scale. Earth's Faint Young Sun problem remains and the issue of carbon abundance of Earth vs. the solar nebula model for accretion, remains a problem too in explaining origins (too much carbon and Earth becomes another Venus). I note here this drifts away from focus on Enceladus but the longer time spans used, the simulations suggest more problems can develop for life to evolve and *advance* :)
 

Catastrophe

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"Okay Cat. I see some *constraints* applied here in post #17 vs. *Sounds ripe for expansion*."

Oh dear. I shall have to be more careful with words. My very last intention was to be controversial.

Life was ripe for expansion. The time taken for life to appear seemed very short and, as far as I remember, life began quite early in the life of the Solar System, and thus had plenty of time to proliferate - life started early and was ripe for expansion. Ripe for development, ripe for spreading, ripe for exploiting niches. Ripe for expansion.. That was my thinking.
No other meaning entered my head, and still does not - other than expansion beyond Earth, which certainly was not in my mind at the time.

Perhaps you can tell me what upset you? No aggressive interpreation was intended.
I can then avoid any difficult areas in future.

Cat :)
 

Catastrophe

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Feb 18, 2020
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To me, Abiogenesis is an interesting theory on a number of levels. First, the idea that a machine like a cell "just appeared" is amazing. At the simplest level I believe cells need some kind of an enclosure, a metabolic system, and a way to copy themselves and pass along genetic info. Assuming the "detail parts" of those requirements were created in a warm little pond, the self-assembling machine seems a bit tricky.

Time is an issue as well. I don't believe the 3 or 4 billion year old fossils are the simplest of cells. So they must have undergone some evolution. Is a billion or so years enough ?

Of course I don't know the answers.
I am a surfactant chemist, so for me the idea of self assembly presents no problem.
Please bear with me for a minute.

Surfactants = short for surface active agents = agents active at surfaces.
Common example = soap = a hydrocarbon chain of normally 12 to 18 carbon atoms joined to a water souble group. In this case carboxylic acid, often sodium salt.

The whole spectrum exists in the balance between water solubility and oil or fat solubility, known as HLB or hydrophilic lipophilic balance.
Large fatty chain and weak water soluble group = very oil/fat soluble
Small fatty chain and strong water soluble group = very water soluble.
Mostly something between is the useful choice.
Without writing a text book, I am making some simplifications.
They form the basis for detergency because the oil/fat chain dissolves in the oily dirt and the water soluble group takes it into the water = cleans the substrate.

Most surfactants (or the most useful ones), when added to water go to the surface (hence surface active). When there is no more room at the surface they must exist in the bulk water phase. To do this the oily parts come together and thus cause the water soluble groups to interphase with the water. So normally you have a spherical group of surfactant molecules with the oily parts together in the centre and the water soluble groups outside. These spherical groups are called micelles and, as you can see, they self assemble.

Now when you get longer fatty chains (16—18 carbons) they are of comparably lower water solublility, higher oil solubility. They are more at home in lower water content environments. They can first form (intermediate) cylindrical micelles and, eventually structures where the fatty chains locate together side by side and enclose aqueous material inside. The outside can interface with more fatty environments. These may be long tubes, with fatty surfactant walls.

This is what happens in cell walls. They self assemble. This is entropy driven. “Hiding” the oil (in the first example) in the water is more favourable entropically than having bare oil – water interfaces.

This has been a very brief summary but it does show the circumstances in which self assembly occurs and relates it to cell walls in living organisms. You could read about it in one of my books published in the Marcel Dekker Surfactant Science Series. Of course I can't say which here.

Cat :)
 
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Catastrophe

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I'll find you smoe interesting references. Here is a start:

Self-assembly of a plant cell wall in vitro
Author links open overlay panelG.J.HillsJ.M.PhillipsM.R.GayK.Roberts

“The salt-soluble glycoproteins alone can self-assemble under various conditions to form fragments that have the crystalline structure characteristic of the outer layers of the complete cell wall.”

That's a good start.

*********************

Biosurfactants and surfactants interacting with membranes and proteins: Same but different?
Author links open overlay panelDaniel E.Otzen

Biosurfactants (BS) are surface-active molecules produced by microorganisms.

*********************
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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I'll find you smoe interesting references. Here is a start:

Self-assembly of a plant cell wall in vitro
Author links open overlay panelG.J.HillsJ.M.PhillipsM.R.GayK.Roberts

“The salt-soluble glycoproteins alone can self-assemble under various conditions to form fragments that have the crystalline structure characteristic of the outer layers of the complete cell wall.”

That's a good start.

*********************
"Abstract A method has been developed by which the cell wall of Chlamydomonas reinhardi may be dissociated into its components, and then reassembled in vitro into a product that is chemically and structurally identical to the original cell wall."

FYI. This looks like an important concept here. This is not non-living matter evolving into a living cell. The experiment starts with already living matter.
 

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