Sunday, December 10, 2006

73)Chemical evolution and the dynamic universe of Islam

This kind of discovery by scientists gives us fascinating clues about the origins of life in the material universe. It also requires a belief in chemical evolution, which is very compatible with the religion of Islam postulating a dynamic as opposed to a static universe:

From the Toronto Star:
Meteorite may hold clues to life

The meteor opens a window into the kind of material from which the solar system was formed, Johnson Space Center scientist suggests Dec. 1, 2006.

EDMONTON — They don’t look like much — 47 fragments of black, pale-flecked rock that altogether don’t weigh much more than a small roast.
But according to an article published in a major science magazine Thursday, a meteorite stored at the University of Alberta contains tiny, carbon-based globules that may offer important clues about how life began on Earth.

“These represent the right tools, the right building blocks, for life to develop,” said Chris Herd, a professor of Earth sciences and curator of the university’s meteorite collection.

In a paper published in the journal Science, NASA researchers say the meteorite found on Tagish Lake in the Yukon has been found to contain organic compounds that formed in the distant reaches of space as the solar system was being born.

The scientists say compounds such as those found in the meteorite may have been responsible for seeding the earth with the building blocks of life.

While such compounds have been found in space debris before, scientists thought they may have been picked up after the meteorite entered the atmosphere.

But powerful electron microscopes at the Johnson Space Center in Texas helped prove the compounds in the Tagish Lake material had formed in space.

Scientists say the Tagish Lake meteorite, carefully plucked off the surface of that frozen lake in January 2000, comes from long, long ago and far, far away — 4.5 billion years and the extreme corner of what is now the solar system.

But what really has them excited is the sample’s purity.

The meteorite was collected shortly after it landed and has remained frozen ever since, preserving the tiny globules almost perfectly.

“Their structure has actually remained intact since they were formed,” said Scott Messenger, a NASA cosmochemist from the Johnson Space Center who co-authored the article in Science magazine.

“This may be the cleanest meteorite we have.”

The meteor opens a window into the kind of material from which the solar system was formed.

The meteorite is unusually rich in carbon molecules that have formed into hollow bubbles so tiny that a trillion of them would weigh less than a grape.

That’s important for two reasons: all living things are built from carbon compounds and all living things need to arrange those compounds into membranes that protect what’s inside the organism from what’s outside.

“Astrobiologists consider forming a membrane to be one of the most important and difficult steps in forming the first cells,” said Messenger.

“These globules are premade membrane structures. They may have nothing to do with life per se, but they’re organic-rich, they’re about the right size and they’re hollow.”

Some scientists theorize that the original chemical compounds from which life formed came from outer space.

It’s common to find carbon-based compounds in meteorites. Amino acids — the building blocks of DNA — have also been found.

It’s estimated that 40,000 tonnes of meteorite debris and comet dust hit the Earth each year. That total would have been higher in the planet’s early years.

Messenger said the importance of the Tagish Lake meteorite discoveries cut across a variety of scientific disciplines — and have left him with a sense of awe.

“To be able to look at these little globules and conclude that they formed before the Earth formed in a completely different type of environment, it’s really kind of profound.”


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3