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100 Years of Science

D. Carrigan - Fermilab                                                        July 7, 2004

22

Origin of life

See :Astrobiology:The Quest for the Conditions of Life- Gerda Horneck Christa Baumstark-Khan (Eds.)

T

?

Don’t know. Chirality may be a clue.

De Duve argues RNA by chance is implausible.

Needs a complex chemical environment.

Some argue catalysts are needed

    but maybe not for peptides.

Maybe clays help.

Maybe a natural selection for molecules.

History of life on earth – the first billion years:

 Birth of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago. Hot (molten)

   atmosphere of H2O, CO2 and CO, N2 and H2 until 0.1 Gyr

 Rain  0.1 to 0.3 Gyr, rocky crust 0.2 to 0.4 Gyr.

 Biologically processed carbon 1 Gyr (self-replicating, carbon-based microbial life)

    not much free oxygen - anaerobic life

 And then photosynthesis began to produce oxygen

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