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View Diary: On Mars: Curiosity Confirms Meteorites' Origin (8 comments)

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  •  The Martian Life rock thing (2+ / 0-)
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    LeftOfYou, Aunt Pat

    may not have been fully debunked, but it's not in good repute nowadays.

    I used to be very interested in it.  The problem with the microscopic "bacteria fossils" that were observed in the rocks was that they were too, too small.  That doesn't mean that smaller lifeforms can't exist -- they were dubbed nanobes by researchers that were trying to figure out how that could work -- it just means that it was unlikely based on everything we know right now.

    Now, that alone didn't sound very convincing to me.  But the deeper explanation is this:  All life that we know requires large enzymes in order to reproduce, copying the DNA to RNA, from RNA to DNA, etc.  Those enzymes alone are too big to fit into the dimensions of the proposed Martian nanobes.  And nobody has figured out a way that you could make a smaller enzyme, even for an RNA-world type simpler RNA-only organism.

    On the pro side... "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

    This could branch off into a long discussion, too, about "Frankenstein" lifeforms, the attempts by some biologists to reverse engineer and make new lifeforms from scratch based on RNA or protein.  There have been successes at this and you can google it all up yourself.  I used to be on top of this shit and could have launched into a longer discussion about it, but I've lost track of it.  

    If anybody tells you only God can create new life from scratch in a test tube, they're wrong.

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