Saturday, August 13, 2005
The PAHs that "refreshes"?
Is a comet a natural "Genesis Device"?
(Click image for enlargement)
The finding of PAHs...Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (organic compounds that are rudimentary precursors for the formation of life)...on Comet Tempel I lends startling plausibility to the theory that comets might bring water AND the chemical "pre-reqs" for life when they impact celestial bodies.
As data trickles out of the Deep Impact Probe project, more controversial discoveries may be revealed. While scientists are fairly sure that the evidence doesn't point to life ON comets, the evidence is beginning to stack up behind the comets at least assisting the life process, and at most being lifes primary carrier in the cosmos.
Among the other surprises found on Tempel I are "buckyballs" and carbon nanotubes, which occur naturally in high temperature environments, but are less common in comet analysis. Carbonates have also been detected, which would normally form in the presence of liquid water. One project scientist theorizes that the "chemistry" for carbonate formation could have occured as the cloud (which eventually formed into the comet itself) coalesced...trapping the carbonate compounds in the matrix of other compounds. Some evidence has been found to support this.
On the whole, more questions than answers, but progress is often a lot of lateral moves... :)
[via the web]
Among the other surprises found on Tempel I are "buckyballs" and carbon nanotubes, which occur naturally in high temperature environments, but are less common in comet analysis.
Any hint of artificiality there?
My understanding is that buckyballs can form naturally. In fact, the first buckyballs were an accidental byproduct...waste. Ironic that.
A space elevator, if ever built, will no doubt involve these molecules, and that they are models that occur in nature has an elegance that is itself compelling. It just seems like it would freaking work! *whew...off sandbox :)*
At any rate, I think the presence of buckyballs reveals more about the chemical and environmental aspects of Tempel I than artificiality.
But one never knows...does one?