Origins-2011 conference opens in Montpellier

Joint Conference of ISSOL and Bioastronomy 3 July 2011

Does the willingness of the Origins-of-Life community to engage with astrobiologists not imply tacit recognition that life may have started in or beyond the solar system?

After all, the galaxy has existed 3 times as long as the solar system. And we know our solar system evolved from material that included ejecta from impacts on early extra-solar planets. An issue for terrestrial-origin advocates is whether there was time and opportunity for pre-biotic evolution on Earth.

The arrival from space of pre-biotic chemicals, such as detected in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, has therefore won advocates. My question to Ada Yonath, whether RNA-ribosome scientists associated a time-scale for evolution of efficient mechanisms from the “lowsy” RNA enzyme system received her answer no – but there is of course a timescale, a long one.

So for advocates of terrestrial origin, the time problem has become more acute.

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