Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Scientists Discover Signs of Life in Inorganic Dust

Scientists have generally assumed that all life is organic, built from carbon-based molecules. Some say that an alternative form of life, based upon silicon molecules, may possibly exist. None have ever considered the possibilities of inorganic dust.

Researchers at Russian Academy of Science in Moscow and at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany have discovered that, under certain conditions, particles of dust can form into helical structures and reproduce.

The structures behave similarly to DNA and proteins, copying original versions of themselves and evolve in ways that question both how life began here on earth and how seemingly redundant dust particles in space may be the building blocks of life.

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