A New Way to Look at the Dawn of LifeDecember 17, 2012 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Astrobiologists supported by NAI have proposed a new approach to the question of life’s origin that focuses not on the chemical 'hardware’ of life, but instead the 'software’ or information content. NASA post-doctoral fellow and lead author on the study, Sara Walker, and professor Paul Davies of Arizona State have presented a novel approach that could help astrobiologists determine the requirements for a living system.
Previously, scientists have viewed the origin of life as a chemistry problem, searching for pathways that could lead from chemical mixtures to living organisms. Walker and Davies suggest that the transition from non-life to life can instead be defined by how life actively uses information. Their study suggests that the way in which life processes information, and the relationship of that processing to life’s environment, is the key to distinguishing living from non-living. The major step in life’s emergence could occur when information in the system begins to direct the matter that composes the system itself. The new paper was published in the Royal Society journal Interface.
Source: [Arizona State University]
- NAI Scientist Appointed Early Career Chair
- Free Oxygen in the Late Archean
- Call for Letters of Application for Membership on NASA’s Science Definition Team for Ice Giants Mission Studies
- A New Model for Homochirality
- NAI Director's Seminar Series: Ironing Out Life in the Universe
- Aerosol Formation on Titan
- NASA Mission Reveals Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere
- Cassini Plunged Into Icy Plumes of Enceladus
- Calibrating a Mass Spec for Studying Chemical Evolution
- FameLab USA: Semi-Final in San Francisco