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Can deep undersea rocks give us clues about ET life?


That’s a current hope:

In places like South Africa and Canada, work in terrestrial deep mines — which descend into rocks that are billions of years older than the oldest seafloor basalts — has hinted at this for the past decade. Sherwood Lollar, along with Princeton University’s Tullis Onstott and other colleagues, have ventured into those mines to study what they call “the hidden hydro-geosphere,” systems of water isolated deep underground on long geological time scales. In some cases, they’ve found water that hasn’t been exposed to surface environmental factors in millions or even billions of years.

And in that billion-year-old water, the researchers have found life.

They’ve also found evidence that those microbes persist by getting energy from an abiotic process called radiolysis, during which radiation released by the rocks reacts with water in the system to release hydrogen, which the cells can then use in various forms as fuel. That’s posed an intriguing question for scientists: Could radiolysis be an alternative process driving much of subsurface life? …

D’Hondt agreed. “From a literally universal perspective, it opens up the potential for sustaining life on all kinds of planets,” he said. “There could be life on other worlds that’s independent of photosynthesis,” thriving beneath the surface, out of sight.

Jordana Cepelewicz, “Inside Deep Undersea Rocks, Life Thrives Without the Sun” at Quanta

Funny how we always have to make it about finding life on other planets, as if this stuff weren’t fascinating enough. Maybe it’s a funding thing…

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.

Jawa, interesting. KF kairosfocus
Another avalanche of ID evidences in just one paper - this time @10. Any objections? Of course not! jawa
In case somebody else would be "curious" too, check this out: Regulation of size and scale in vertebrate spinal cord development
All vertebrates have a spinal cord with dimensions and shape specific to their species. Yet how species?specific organ size and shape are achieved is a fundamental unresolved question in biology. These processes are controlled by global tissue-scale regulators, such as morphogen signaling gradients as well as mechanical forces. Current challenges in the field are to uncover how these tissue?scale regulatory mechanisms are translated to the cellular and molecular level, and how regulation of distinct cellular processes gives rise to an overall defined size. Addressing these questions will help not only to achieve a better understanding of how size is controlled, but also of how tissue size is coordinated with the specification of pattern. How organ size is determined during development is one of the most fundamental unresolved questions in biology. The question of why elephants are bigger than mice has been asked many times, almost always accompanied by the surprise of how little we know about the answer There is still much to be learned about the individual determinants of tissue growth—initial size, cell cycle progression, cell size and shape, and tissue anisotropy (see Box 1). The role of morphogen signaling, mechanics and other mechanisms in regulating these processes is poorly understood.
The initial pool of progenitors that gives rise to the spinal cord, the changes in cell number driven by cell proliferation and cell loss, the cell sizes and shapes, and the anisotropy of tissue growth can affect the overall size and shape of the spinal cord. What is the contribution of each of these factors to spinal cord size in different species?
How do morphogens control the rates of cell proliferation, neuronal differentiation and apoptosis in the spinal cord? What are the molecular targets of morphogen signaling within the machineries that regulate these processes? How does the interpretation of morphogen signaling at the molecular level determine the tissue level dynamics of spinal cord growth?
How is the dynamics of neuronal differentiation controlled? How is neuronal differentiation molecularly linked to the control of cell cycle length and cell cycle progression? To what extent is the differentiation rate determined by the dynamics of cell intrinsic gene regulatory networks versus cell extrinsic factors?
How do progenitor cell sizes and shapes change during spinal cord development and how is this regulated?
How is the anisotropy of tissue growth controlled in the spinal cord? What is the role of mechanical forces versus biochemical signaling in this process?
How is spinal cord size sensed and corrected during development? What are the common and what are the distinct features of growth control systems in different species?
How is spinal cord pattern coordinated with its size? How do different species achieve pattern scaling between differently sized individuals?
JVL, Sorry, I thought you were curious, but maybe that's not what you meant by "curious" @3. Oh, well. It could have been a nice chat. I'll miss it. Maybe next time? :) jawa
Jawa: Whatever game you're playing, I'm not in. Bye. JVL
@6: “...and will tell you why.” Which of the following two options does the quoted text refer to? 1. JVL’s question “why did you…?” @3 ? 2. the statement @6: “I appreciate that you asked such a good question” :) jawa
JVL, “why did you...?” That’s a good question, because you’re inquiring about the real motives behind certain action. I appreciate that you asked such a good question and will tell you why. jawa
JVL, “Just curious . . . why...?” Just think about it and you may figure it out yourself. It’s obvious. :) jawa
JVL, “exactly the same comment” Did you literally mean “exactly”? :) jawa
Jawa: Just curious . . . why did you post exactly the same comment on three different threads? JVL
Can biological cells be programmed like computers? Nah, that’s ID wishful thinking. ???? Biology is all chemistry and physics. There’s nothing about complex functionally specified information in biology. Computer concepts don’t relate to biological systems. Really? What about this? Turning cells into computers with protein logic gates: https://phys.org/news/2020-04-cells-protein-logic-gates.html jawa
I hadn't thought about the oddness of this perspective before! It's like finding a new job with interesting creative work and high pay, and then thinking "This implies the possibility of jobs existing on Mars." It would make more sense to just take the job and start doing it. polistra

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