APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 4471
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:12 am

Image A White Battle in the Black Sea

Explanation: Trillions have died in the Earth's seas. Calcified shields of the dead already make up the white cliffs of Dover. The battle between ball-shaped light-colored single-celled plants -- phytoplankton called coccolithophores -- and even smaller, diamond-shaped viruses dubbed coccolithoviruses -- has raged for tens of millions of years. To help fight this battle, the coccolithophores create their chalky armor by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This battle is so epic that coccolithophores actually remove a significant fraction of Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide, bolstering the breathability of air for animals including humans. Pictured in this 2012 image from NASA's Aqua satellite, the Black Sea was turned light blue by coccolithophore blooms.

<< Previous APOD This Day in APOD Next APOD >>
[/b]

User avatar
Nitpicker
Inverse Square
Posts: 2692
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:39 am
Location: S27 E153

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:26 am

The full-res version is quite spectacular.

heehaw

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by heehaw » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:45 am

That is extremely interesting!

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18547
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:02 am

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Art Neuendorffer

De58te
Science Officer
Posts: 418
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:35 pm

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by De58te » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:03 am

Interesting that the Sea of Azov, to the right of the Black Sea in this picture, is different shades of green compared to the blue of the Black Sea. Is this because it is so shallow that it is filled with green algae? I also wonder what the pink area is just above, which appears to be around the border of where the Crimea joins mainland Ukraine. Judging by the size it appears to be the size of a large city. But are all the buildings pink? If you find Istanbul in the picture it is mostly a grayish brown color with a sliver of light green which I am guessing is a park.

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18547
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:18 am

De58te wrote:
Interesting that the Sea of Azov, to the right of the Black Sea in this picture, is different shades of green compared to the blue of the Black Sea. Is this because it is so shallow that it is filled with green algae?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_Azov wrote:
<<The Sea of Azov is a sea in Eastern Europe. To the south it is linked by the narrow (~4 km) Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea, and it is sometimes regarded as a northern extension of the Black Sea. The Don and Kuban are the major rivers that flow into it. The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world, with the depth varying between 0.9 and 14 meters. In antiquity, the sea was usually known as the Maeotis Swamp from the marshlands to its northeast. Other names the Cimmerian or Scythican Swamps; and the Cimmerian or Bosporic Sea. The sea is largely affected by the inflow of numerous rivers, which bring sand, silt, and shells, which in turn form numerous bays, limans, and narrow spits. Because of these deposits, the sea bottom is relatively smooth and flat with the depth gradually increasing toward the middle. Also, due to the river inflow, water in the sea has low salinity and a high amount of biomass (such as green algae) that affects the water colour. Abundant plankton results in unusually high fish productivity. The sea shores and spits are low; they are rich in vegetation and bird colonies.>>
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 11634
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Ann » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:36 am

A white battle in the Black Sea - how about a blue battle in the Black Sea? It looks blue to me!

On a different note, it's fascinating to note how one thing after another contributes to the habitability of the Earth. It is of course extremely significant that the coccolithophores have removed so much of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of the Earth. Where would we have have been without the blue coccolithophores building their white cliffs in various places of the Earth, including Dover, and clearing the air in the process? The Earth might not have been like Venus without the coccolithophores' help, but with a CO2-rich atmosphere, Earth would almost certainly have been too hot for comfort.

By the way, check out this 2MB picture to see the white cliffs of Malmö.

Ann
Color Commentator

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18547
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:44 am

De58te wrote:
I also wonder what the pink area... which appears to be around the border of where the Crimea joins mainland Ukraine. Judging by the size it appears to be the size of a large city. But are all the buildings pink? If you find Istanbul in the picture it is mostly a grayish brown color with a sliver of light green which I am guessing is a park.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syvash wrote: <<The Syvash or Sivash (Russian and Ukrainian: Сива́ш), also known as the Putrid Sea or Rotten Sea, is a large system of shallow lagoons on the west coast of the Sea of Azov. Separated from the sea by the narrow Arabat Spit. Its eastern connection to the Sea of Azov is called the Henichesk Strait. The Syvash is extremely shallow. The deepest place is about 3 meters, with most areas between ½ and 1 meter deep. The bottom is covered with silt up to 5 m thick. Being very shallow, the waters in the Syvash heat up in the summer and produce a putrid smell. The wide area for evaporation also leaves the water extremely salty. The amount of various salts is estimated at 200 million metric tons. In summer, the water level of Syvash decreases significantly, revealing barren solonets soils called "syvashes" by locals.

The Syvash nearly cuts the Crimean Peninsula off from the mainland, serving as a natural border for its autonomous republic. The long (110 km) and narrow (0.27–8 km) Arabat Spit runs to its east, separating it from the Sea of Azov. The two bodies are connected in the north at the Henichesk Strait beside the port of Henichesk. To its west, the isthmus of Perekop separates it from the Black Sea and connects Crimea to Ukraine.

The eastern parts of the Syvash contain less salt and are home to reeds and other wetland vegetation. The large islands in the Central Syvash are mainly covered with steppes consisting of feather grass, tulips, tauric wormwood, sage, crested wheat grass, fescue. The shores of the Syvash contains a large number of salt-tolerant vegetation, including glasswort, Tripolium, plantains, sea lavender, saltbush>>
Art Neuendorffer

gcal

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by gcal » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:09 pm

This is interesting, but I would prefer that APOD stick with Astronomy.

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18547
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:12 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccolith wrote: <<Coccoliths are individual plates of calcium carbonate formed by coccolithophores (single-celled algae such as Emiliania huxleyi) which are arranged around them in a coccosphere. The coccoliths are either dispersed following death and breakup of the coccosphere, or are shed continually by some species. They sink through the water column to form an important part of the deep-sea sediments (depending on the water depth). Thomas Huxley was the first person to observe these forms in modern marine sediments and he gave them the name 'coccoliths' in a report published in 1858. Coccoliths are composed of calcium carbonate as the mineral calcite and are the main constituent of chalk deposits such as the white CLIFFs of Dover (deposited in Cretaceous times), in which they were first described by Henry CLIFton Sorby in 1861.

Although coccoliths are remarkably elaborate structures whose formation is a complex product of cellular processes, their function is unclear. Hypotheses include defence against grazing by zooplankton or infection by bacteria or viruses; maintenance of buoyancy; release of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis; to filter out harmful UV light; or in deep-dwelling species, to concentrate light for photosynthesis.

Because coccoliths are formed of low-Mg calcite, the most stable form of calcium carbonate, they are readily fossilised. They are found in sediments together with similar microfossils of uncertain affinities (nannoliths) from the Upper Triassic to recent.>>
Art Neuendorffer

E Fish
Science Officer
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:29 pm

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by E Fish » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:09 pm

gcal wrote:This is interesting, but I would prefer that APOD stick with Astronomy.
It's a satellite image taken by NASA. I think these are interesting when they come up, which isn't often. The Earth Science Picture of the Day sometimes has astronomical pictures, too.

One of my favorite APODs was the bucket-wheel excavator made by Thyssen-Krupp. Fascinating piece of machinery and they only related it to astronomy by saying it was bigger than the shuttle launcher. :)

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 11634
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Ann » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:36 pm

neufer wrote:
De58te wrote:
I also wonder what the pink area... which appears to be around the border of where the Crimea joins mainland Ukraine. Judging by the size it appears to be the size of a large city. But are all the buildings pink? If you find Istanbul in the picture it is mostly a grayish brown color with a sliver of light green which I am guessing is a park.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syvash wrote: <<The Syvash or Sivash (Russian and Ukrainian: Сива́ш), also known as the Putrid Sea or Rotten Sea, is a large system of shallow lagoons on the west coast of the Sea of Azov. Separated from the sea by the narrow Arabat Spit. Its eastern connection to the Sea of Azov is called the Henichesk Strait. The Syvash is extremely shallow. The deepest place is about 3 meters, with most areas between ½ and 1 meter deep. The bottom is covered with silt up to 5 m thick. Being very shallow, the waters in the Syvash heat up in the summer and produce a putrid smell. The wide area for evaporation also leaves the water extremely salty. The amount of various salts is estimated at 200 million metric tons. In summer, the water level of Syvash decreases significantly, revealing barren solonets soils called "syvashes" by locals.

The Syvash nearly cuts the Crimean Peninsula off from the mainland, serving as a natural border for its autonomous republic. The long (110 km) and narrow (0.27–8 km) Arabat Spit runs to its east, separating it from the Sea of Azov. The two bodies are connected in the north at the Henichesk Strait beside the port of Henichesk. To its west, the isthmus of Perekop separates it from the Black Sea and connects Crimea to Ukraine.

The eastern parts of the Syvash contain less salt and are home to reeds and other wetland vegetation. The large islands in the Central Syvash are mainly covered with steppes consisting of feather grass, tulips, tauric wormwood, sage, crested wheat grass, fescue. The shores of the Syvash contains a large number of salt-tolerant vegetation, including glasswort, Tripolium, plantains, sea lavender, saltbush>>
Fascinating, Art. Thanks for posting this.

Ann
Color Commentator

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18547
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:38 pm

Ann wrote:
Fascinating, Art. Thanks for posting this.
I take particular pride in my Putrid posts.
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16205
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:22 pm

Ann wrote:On a different note, it's fascinating to note how one thing after another contributes to the habitability of the Earth.
This is, of course, completely true. The Earth is an immensely complex system with all the parts interacting with and changing all the other parts.

Still, we should remember that all these pieces are adaptable. Not much is a requirement in its present form except in the context of all the current pieces. Were this particular carbon recycling component unavailable, others might have evolved. Or, there might simply be more CO2 and life would have evolved to be comfortable with an 80° C climate. The possibilities are endless (as we're likely to discover in the near future as we start detecting life in other star systems).
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

Old Man

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Old Man » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:35 pm

Does the air around this sea seem to be more invigorating than normal?

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 11634
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Ann » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:00 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Ann wrote:On a different note, it's fascinating to note how one thing after another contributes to the habitability of the Earth.
This is, of course, completely true. The Earth is an immensely complex system with all the parts interacting with and changing all the other parts.

Still, we should remember that all these pieces are adaptable. Not much is a requirement in its present form except in the context of all the current pieces. Were this particular carbon recycling component unavailable, others might have evolved. Or, there might simply be more CO2 and life would have evolved to be comfortable with an 80° C climate.
Well, conditions on the Earth have varied enormously over the billions of years that the Earth has been not just "technically habitable", but actually inhabited by biological life forms. Therefore, I quite agree with you that the Earth would almost certainly have remained habitable in an 80o C climate.

The Earth would not be habitable to Homo Sapiens in an 80o C climate, of course. So take note, Donald Trump.
The possibilities are endless (as we're likely to discover in the near future as we start detecting life in other star systems).
You and I disagree on how common life is on other planets. My belief is that while we are not alone - and how could we ever know that we are alone, even if we are? - complex life forms like, say, earthworms, are extremely rare in the universe. Not only that, but I also believe that simple life is relatively rare. How rare? Let me put it like this. If we have a sample of 100 exoplanets, we are extremely unlikely to find even simple life on even one of them. If we have a sample of 1,000 exoplanets, we are still extremely unlikely to find even simple life on even one of them. If we have a sample of 10,000 exoplanets, we are probably not extremely unlikely to find even simple life on even one of them. Just unlikely.

I base my reasoning on the assumption that we would be able to detect rather low planetwide levels of simple life forms. If detection requires high levels of simple life forms, the kind of levels that leave quite obvious imprints on the exoplanet's atmosphere, then I think we would still be extremely unlikely to find even simple life on even one exoplanet out of a sample of 10,000.

Actually I think the figures are even worse. I think we are very unlikely to find easily detectable life on more than one planet in any exo-solar system. So we should talk about the number of exo-solar systems we have found, rather than focusing on the exact number of planets. Therefore, if we have found 10,000 exoplanets, but only perhaps 2,000 exo-solar systems, then the question is whether 2,000 exo-solar systems are enough to have produced at least one planet with easily detectable biological life. I don't think that that number of exo-solar systems is normally enough to find life, at all.

Most stars in the Milky Way are undoubtedly red dwarfs, but I think we underestimate the difficulty for life to establish itself on the surface of a planet orbiting a red dwarf. Red dwarfs are dim and cool and must hug their planets close in order to give them enough warmth to produce liquid surface water. It could well be that it takes, on average, a hundred times the current age of the universe for life to become really successful on the surface of an otherwise suitable planet orbiting a red dwarf. Red dwarfs certainly have time on their side, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they have a lot of life-bearing planets now.

It is also very possible that life is extremely rare on the surface of any planet. Perhaps life is abundant, but only below a protective ice cover of their planet, like on Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moon Enceladus. And that statement doesn't imply that we know that there is life below the surfaces of these two moons in our own solar system, just that we don't know that there isn't life below the surface of these two moons. If life doesn't "communicate" with its surrounding solar system at all, then how do we know that it is actually there?

I'm not trying to argue with you, Chris, because there is no way that I could prove to you that I'm right. (And when all is said and done, there is no way that I myself could know that I'm right - or wrong! At least not now.) I'm just trying to state my belief. It would be interesting to hear you state yours.

Ann
Last edited by Ann on Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Color Commentator

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16205
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:12 pm

Ann wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:Still, we should remember that all these pieces are adaptable. Not much is a requirement in its present form except in the context of all the current pieces. Were this particular carbon recycling component unavailable, others might have evolved. Or, there might simply be more CO2 and life would have evolved to be comfortable with an 80° C climate.
You and I disagree on how common life is on other planets. My belief is that while we are not alone - and how could we ever know that we are alone, even if we are? - complex life forms like, say, earthworms, are extremely rare in the universe. Not only that, but I also believe that simple life is relatively rare. How rare? Let me put it like this. If we have a sample of 100 exoplanets, we are extremely unlikely to find even simple life on even one of them. If we have a sample of 1,000 exoplanets, we are still extremely unlikely to find even simple life on even one of them. If we have a sample of 10,000 exoplanets, we are probably not extremely unlikely to find even simple life on even one of them. Just unlikely.
We only partly disagree. I also think that life even as complex as earthworms might be very rare. But the lesson I take from Earth is that life is nearly inevitable. It has existed on Earth since Earth was well outside of what we consider "habitable" today. We have observed many exoplanets that probably have similar conditions to early Earth. We can identify nothing special about Earth or the Solar System that seems instrumental in the development of life. Simple life has existed for almost the entire time that Earth has existed.

So yes, I'd be surprised if we fail to detect life on extrasolar planets within the next decade. Indeed, I'd not be surprised if we find it on nearly all planets which support liquid water.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

Boomer12k
:---[===] *
Posts: 2691
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:07 am

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Boomer12k » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:26 am

Ooooookay.... why does the Black Sea look like it has a Pterodactyl head in it???? Top part... :shock:

I also suggest we get MORE places to grow them... and FAST!!!

:---[===] *

User avatar
MarkBour
Subtle Signal
Posts: 1187
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:44 pm
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by MarkBour » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:55 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:But the lesson I take from Earth is that life is nearly inevitable. It has existed on Earth since Earth was well outside of what we consider "habitable" today. We have observed many exoplanets that probably have similar conditions to early Earth. We can identify nothing special about Earth or the Solar System that seems instrumental in the development of life. Simple life has existed for almost the entire time that Earth has existed.

So yes, I'd be surprised if we fail to detect life on extrasolar planets within the next decade. Indeed, I'd not be surprised if we find it on nearly all planets which support liquid water.
Fascinating. But how important do you think the Earth's magnetic field is, and how common do you think it is?
https://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/imag ... rth_lg.gif
And how many other unique factors do you think might be required, which we have not yet noticed? (Or maybe it's just that I haven't noticed -- perhaps others already have.)

What will qualify for "detect life" for you? The discovery that a planet has a certain set of elements in its atmosphere?
What instruments do you think might be our means of discovery? The James Webb? WFIRST?
Mark Goldfain

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16205
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:49 pm

MarkBour wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:But the lesson I take from Earth is that life is nearly inevitable. It has existed on Earth since Earth was well outside of what we consider "habitable" today. We have observed many exoplanets that probably have similar conditions to early Earth. We can identify nothing special about Earth or the Solar System that seems instrumental in the development of life. Simple life has existed for almost the entire time that Earth has existed.

So yes, I'd be surprised if we fail to detect life on extrasolar planets within the next decade. Indeed, I'd not be surprised if we find it on nearly all planets which support liquid water.
Fascinating. But how important do you think the Earth's magnetic field is, and how common do you think it is?
I think it likely a magnetic field will be present with all terrestrial planets. The size of the planet will determine how long it persists. I think it is of little importance to simple life, which is likely to develop while the planet is young and still has a field, and able to persist for a long time as the field decays, because of adaptation to higher radiation and lower atmospheric pressures. The magnetic field is probably much more important when we're considering complex life, which may take billions of years to develop and which depends on a much more stable system.
And how many other unique factors do you think might be required, which we have not yet noticed? (Or maybe it's just that I haven't noticed -- perhaps others already have.)
Well, it's hard to speculate on what we haven't thought of! But there isn't anything obviously unique about our solar system. It may be of a fairly rare type, but that doesn't mean there aren't still lots of others that are similar.

One factor that is often considered is a large moon, which creates tides and which stabilizes a planet's axis. Again, though, these are things I would consider important for complex life, but not for the sort of simple life that existed on Earth for a few billion years (and which I think we're most likely to find on other planets).
What will qualify for "detect life" for you? The discovery that a planet has a certain set of elements in its atmosphere?
What instruments do you think might be our means of discovery? The James Webb? WFIRST?
No detection is likely to be absolutely certain. But yes, the detection of certain things in atmospheres, such as methane and oxygen, would be difficult to explain by other processes. Such a detection would be very strong initial evidence of life which is chemically similar to life on Earth.

Not sure about the instruments. I think it will be something ground-based; there are a number of systems under development or in early use that work by occluding the central star in order to get spectroscopic measurements of exoplanets. Because the field is so small, adaptive optics combined with a large aperture allows for very high resolution and very high sensitivity- more than is currently possible with space-based instruments.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18547
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:33 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
I also think that life even as complex as earthworms might be very rare. But the lesson I take from Earth is that life is nearly inevitable. It has existed on Earth since Earth was well outside of what we consider "habitable" today. We have observed many exoplanets that probably have similar conditions to early Earth. We can identify nothing special about Earth or the Solar System that seems instrumental in the development of life. Simple life has existed for almost the entire time that Earth has existed.

So yes, I'd be surprised if we fail to detect life on extrasolar planets within the next decade. Indeed, I'd not be surprised if we find it on nearly all planets which support liquid water.
I used to strongly hold this very same opinion...but now I'm not so sure.

We have an excellent theory (i.e., Darwin's) on how starting with bacteria or archaea and given billions of years (in which there is always be a viable niche for the most savvy predators) one might end up with one dominant technological species eventually. (We also have excellent empirical evidence on why two competing technological species can never exist at the same time.)

And we have excellent experimental evidence that all Solar Systems are chock full of water, energy sources, amino acids and (probably) complex DNA & RNA nucleotides.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA#Evolution wrote:
<<In March 2015, complex DNA and RNA nucleotides, including uracil, cytosine and thymine, were reportedly formed in the laboratory under outer space conditions, using starter chemicals, such as pyrimidine, an organic compound commonly found in meteorites. Pyrimidine, like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), is the most carbon-rich compounds found in the Universe and may have been formed in red giants or in interstellar dust and gas clouds.>>
However, we have absolutely no theory or experimental evidence, whatever, demonstrating how amino acids and complex DNA & RNA nucleotides came together in just the right way to produce those early bacteria or archaea. All we can say is that it happened (perhaps just once) a long time ago as a necessary precondition that we are here to discuss the matter.

So is a multiverse (or at least an infinite universe) also necessary to take that crucial step to go from amino acids and complex DNA & RNA nucleotides to early bacteria or archaea :?:
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16205
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:22 pm

neufer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote: I also think that life even as complex as earthworms might be very rare. But the lesson I take from Earth is that life is nearly inevitable. It has existed on Earth since Earth was well outside of what we consider "habitable" today. We have observed many exoplanets that probably have similar conditions to early Earth. We can identify nothing special about Earth or the Solar System that seems instrumental in the development of life. Simple life has existed for almost the entire time that Earth has existed.

So yes, I'd be surprised if we fail to detect life on extrasolar planets within the next decade. Indeed, I'd not be surprised if we find it on nearly all planets which support liquid water.
I used to strongly hold this very same opinion...but now I'm not so sure...

However, we have absolutely no theory or experimental evidence, whatever, demonstrating how amino acids and complex DNA & RNA nucleotides came together in just the right way to produce those early bacteria or archaea. All we can say is that it happened (perhaps just once) a long time ago as a necessary precondition that we are here to discuss the matter.
I don't agree. In fact, the field of abiogenesis has produced reasonable hypotheses and viable theories (supported by experiment) as to how life might develop from the mix of ingredients. What is generally important is that these are simple processes with a low probability of local success but which become nearly certain given a large enough pool. Also important is the recognition that we don't have the ingredients coming together to create anything even as complex as bacteria or archaea. Very much simpler systems are possible, which are at least weakly capable of self-replication, which is really all you need to kick the Darwinian process into action.

Sure, it's possible that something extraordinary happened here. But I think the simpler solution is that something quite common happened. After all, when you put energy into a system its complexity increases, and life is just a little more complex than a number of common inorganic processes.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18547
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by neufer » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:46 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
I don't agree. In fact, the field of abiogenesis has produced reasonable hypotheses and viable theories (supported by experiment) as to how life might develop from the mix of ingredients. What is generally important is that these are simple processes with a low probability of local success but which become nearly certain given a large enough pool. Also important is the recognition that we don't have the ingredients coming together to create anything even as complex as bacteria or archaea. Very much simpler systems are possible, which are at least weakly capable of self-replication, which is really all you need to kick the Darwinian process into action.
That remains to be seen.

In any event, I now have more confidence that bacteria or archaea when given enough time in an earth-like environment will evolve into a plethora of species including, eventually, a technological one (which may well be short lived).
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16205
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: A White Battle in the Black Sea (2017 Apr 24)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:56 pm

neufer wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
I don't agree. In fact, the field of abiogenesis has produced reasonable hypotheses and viable theories (supported by experiment) as to how life might develop from the mix of ingredients. What is generally important is that these are simple processes with a low probability of local success but which become nearly certain given a large enough pool. Also important is the recognition that we don't have the ingredients coming together to create anything even as complex as bacteria or archaea. Very much simpler systems are possible, which are at least weakly capable of self-replication, which is really all you need to kick the Darwinian process into action.
That remains to be seen.
It does, indeed. The good news is that exobiology, synthetic biology, and astronomical detection capability is probably getting quite close to providing good answers.
In any event, I now have more confidence that bacteria or archaea when given enough time in an earth-like environment will evolve into a plethora of species including, eventually, a technological one (which may well be short lived).
I do agree with that. Given an appropriately stable environment and enough time, increasing complexity seems inevitable. It's possible that some environments might lead to complex life with very high intelligence, but virtually no technology (because of resource limitations, or existing in deep oceans, or other such cases).
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com