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01/15/2008

Life: No Deposit - No Return

Ingredients_for_life_building_block

Life_in_a_can_pop_a_top_soda_inst_2AUSTIN, TX - Astronomers from Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, have detected for the first time the molecules methanimine and hydrogen cyanide – two ingredients that build life-forming amino acids – in a galaxy some 250 million light years away.

“Just add water!” said Robert Minchin, an Arecibo astronomer on the project, who explained that methanimine and hydrogen cyanide are two of the basic ingredients of life, because when combined with water they form glycine, the simplest amino acid, a building block of life on Earth.

The astronomy team, led by Arecibo astronomer Christopher Salter, announced this discovery today (Jan. 11) in a poster presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin. The Arecibo Observatory is managed by Cornell University for National Science Foundation.

The astronomers focused on the galaxy Arp 220, an ultra-luminous starburst galaxy, because it forms new stars at a very high rate. They used the 1,000-foot diameter, Arecibo radio telescope, world’s largest and most sensitive, to observe the galaxy at different frequencies. In fact, for the first time in April 2007, they used the 800 megahertz wide-band mode of the main spectrometer to make these detections.

These molecules were found by searching for radio emission at specific frequencies. Each chemical substance has its own unique radio frequency and astronomers can in that way identify the different substances, much like people can be identified with their unique fingerprints.

“We weren’t targeting any particular molecule, so we didn’t know what we were going to find – we just started searching, and what we found was incredibly exciting,” said Tapasi Ghosh, an Arecibo astronomer.

“The fact that we can observe these substances at such a vast distance means that there are huge amounts of them in Arp 220,” said Emmanuel Momjian, a former Arecibo astronomer, now at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, N.M. “It is indeed very intriguing to find that the ingredients of life appear in large quantities where new stars and planets are born.”  Link

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   These 'discoveries' are coming at an ever increasing frequency. Already, hundreds of planetoids have been found. Many within the 'Goldilocks' orbits of stars that emit the proper light spectrums and sufficient heat and light to sustain life 'as we know it.' Water has been found on any number of extra-solar bodies. Other, so called 'building block' chemicals, have been detected in abundance throughout the Universe. In fact, any arguments against the possible existence of extraterrestrial life have been muted - if not made moot - entirely.

   Meanwhile, back here on Earth, we're still trying to determine whether life is/was an act of God, which God, whose God and whether God exists, is dead or has a hand in any of it. No signs of those arguments being muted OR made moot anytime soon. Once again, our technological abilities surpass our ability to recognize our place in the cosmos.

   Personally, I am convinced it's only the laws of physics that prevent our species from realizing actual physical contact with either. Furthermore, it matters not one whit whether we will ever know with certainty about both. I'd like to think the issues are both settled. Life is universal in its scope, range, manifestation and potential and God is there for those who believe. They are not mutually exclusive, nor do either depend upon the other for basis in fact or matter.

   I submit that the pursuit of all knowledge should be our only goal. Not for validation, justification, and certainly not for some schematic or map divining or plotting our future. We should come to each new moment in time with an open mind. Let the Devil be bothered with our traditions, our rituals, our heritage and our misgivings - those things serve only to close off avenues of investigation and exploration.

   As you all know, I am an atheist. In so saying, I have no interest in God beyond HIS tangible effects on the human condition ... and progress. Edison, Einstein, Newton and many other 'men of science' had faith in God. That faith did NOT stop them from advancing science. That's where I draw the line. Reproduceable results in a controlled environment with documentable evidence. That over 6 billion humans find that heretical or blasphemous bothers me not at all.

Were that less troubling to more would be the greatest leap of progress in the history of Man.
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Comments

So do the words, "Let the Devil be bothered with our traditions, our rituals, our heritage and our misgivings", mean that you believe in the Devil? My late husband, who was never late, claimed to be an athiest. He would get disturbed if I neglected to say 'Bless You' or 'Gazunheit' after he sneezed, which I would do from time to time just to get his goat:)

Naw, to Hell with him and his minions.

Actually, the concept of a 'Devil' and a 'God' and all the other trappings of religion are not all that alien to my way of thinking.

I just don't care all that much about any of it and as long as those concepts don't rattle my cage, I'm fine.

Rattle my cage? I'm the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse.

Giddyup.

haha..... 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse.. "Dang, I dropped my glasses....help!"


The devil and God are the trappings of most of our traditions, rituals and heritage. The same is true for all cultures. Fear and Hope motivate man. Nothing better than an afterlife and a devil to secure progress and an adherence to culture.

Anyway, there is no point to this as you've stated progress and science will continue on side by side with religion. I don't think religion will ever stop it - even though there have been plenty of attempts to do so, in this day and age, religion will never trump the trappings of science and discovery.

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