Extraterrestrial life Origin Of Life

Rob Sheldon: Life from space?

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Further to Will the shooting stars please rise? Rob Sheldon writes to say

Just to set the record straight. The meteorite they showed in the article, was not a piece of iron, it was a “framboid” from an extinct comet made up of Fe3O4 “magnetite”. The reason it looks all lumpy, is that it is a ball made up of ball bearings, each one small enough to be spontaneously magnetized. These ball bearings are not random crystallization of iron, rather they are biominerals, made by living organisms, and far from equilibrium. The closest analog is a Fe3S4 mineral “goethite” found in deep gold mines in South Africa. We don’t know much about the organisms that make them–they look to be bacteria–but why they need a sensitive magnetic compass we don’t know.

So the oxygen in the Fe3O4 framboid did not come from the Earth’s atmosphere, it came from space, along with the comet that carried it, more than 2.7 billion years ago, with a freightload of bacteria. More.

What do readers think? Was Earth’s life first begun in space?

See also: Paper: Jupiter doesn’t shield Earth, comets kickstarted life

Comets brought life to Europa’s oceans?

and

Origin of life (the skinny)

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3 Replies to “Rob Sheldon: Life from space?

  1. 1
    awstar says:

    So the oxygen in the Fe3O4 framboid did not come from the Earth’s atmosphere, it came from space, along with the comet that carried it, more than 2.7 billion years ago, with a freightload of bacteria.

    What do readers think? Was Earth’s life first begun in space?

    As a creationist i think that Walt Brown may have the best explanation for when and where comets and the stuff they comprise originated.

  2. 2
    rhampton7 says:

    Is Dr. Sheldon suggesting that bacterial life exists on comets out in space?

  3. 3
    Bob O'H says:

    From a quick looking at the literature, it’s clear that the idea that framboids are bacterial in origin has been rejected (e.g. this paper and references therein). Framboids have been made in laboratories at least 11 times, using different conditions, and have been found in places where bacteria aren’t common, like volcanic rock.

    Incidentally, I can’t help but like that this iron crystal was given its name by someone called Rust.

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