These may be the oldest remains of life on Earth ever found


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/09/these-may-be-the-oldest-remain.html


#2

The tubes of hematite are 4.28 billion years old, beating out 3.7 billion year old microbial remains found in Greenland.

A veritable photo finish!


#3

The article I read didn’t have it that old, I don’t think. 4.28 is some of the oldest rocks in existence. I am all for the idea of chemical evolution and life forming relatively early on, but color me skeptical. But I want to believe.

What is cool is I have some rocks VERY similar in appearance to the ones in the article. I believe they are red jasper with hematite and a bit of quartz in them, and I found mine in Duluth, MN.

Had I known what a GOLD MINE of geology that area was, I would have spent way more time out looking for stuff. It was only 2 days until I had to go I poked into a local shop, bought a state guide to minerals, and flipped out at the cool stuff around. I wanted to get something called Green Stone which is 3.8 billion years old!


#4

Don’t put that in your mouth!


#5

Life didn’t necessarily start here.


#6

134974080000000016 second rule!


#7

can :clap: we :clap: just :clap: fucking :clap: go :clap: to :clap: Europa :clap: already


#8

Can we stop by Saturn’s little dumpling moon, Pan? It looks so darn cute!


#9

ALH84001


#10

I am aware of that theory, but eh, I think it is MUCH MUCH more likely our life on this planet started here. We have the molecular materials in abundance. We have the heat, energy and water. Life from somewhere else means that 1) either life started in a much much harsher environment in space among the gas and debri that formed our solar system or 2) life existed somewhere else, that was destroyed, and some how a small part of it “lived” on and was deposited here.

Eehhh, I am going with Occam’s Razor on this one and not go for the seed theory.

I think we haven’t given Mars enough of a fair shake. I mean life isn’t going to be just out in the open, but I can’t imagine there is NO signs left. Most likely there are cave systems, which would be great candidate. We have life literally a mile under the ground in the stone, how about just drilling down some on Mars? Could there be a water table? What about life in the poles? Heck what about dropping explosives that peel up a large crater so we can how the rocks layer and form? Maybe find a damn fossil!


#11

These may be the oldest remains of takeout in my fridge ever found.


#12

Penne a la primordial ooze?


#13

I mean the deepness of space and time is really impossible for humans to fathom, maybe it took a very certain set of circumstances to put life into motion, such as a gamma ray blast of just the right strength and duration, or shared between grazing systems…

Of course that would be the first thing science would examine if we did find something extraterrestrial, in what ways is it related to the genetic code here.


#14

Its not going to be easy to deliver a powered descent stage to a moon already deep in the gravitational field of Jupiter. But I do wonder about an ultra low altitude orbiter. Maybe something which could descend to 100 metres or so and sample the surface with a laser.

edit: Jupiter escape velocity at the orbit of Europa is just under [20 km/s](https://www.google.com.au/search?q=sqrt(2G1.898+%C3%97+10%5E27+%2F+67900000)&oq=sqrt(2G1.898+%C3%97+10%5E27+%2F+67900000)&aqs=chrome…69i57.2490j0j7&client=ubuntu&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=sqrt(2*+(6.610^-11)++(1.898+%C3%97+10^27)+/+670900000)&*).

edit2: best architecture I can come up with is a Jupiter aerobraking approach. Do it like the Mars orbiters but please don’t mess up your units. Kill enough of your orbital velocity to be able to drop a probe into Europa, with just the escape velocity of the moon to deal with. So that about 1500 m/s for your powered descent.


#15

the jury is still out about the meaning of the results of Viking’s biological experiments. it would be imo a good idea to send similar probes with the same test suite - only with using the 30+ years later (and hopefully) better tech

a very American approach. “we found life. the extinction event was about half an hour ago.”


#16

The problem is exposing a “cut” in the ground to look at the geology. On earth we could do that with equipment. We could go around taking core samples. There are a plethora of less invasive methods to “look” under the surface. Unfortunately, the landers are limited on size and complexity. Though I think a lander whose main job is drilling core samples would be awesome, it would be perhaps too specialized to make it worth a mission?

Anyway, I know that sounds rather heavy handed, but blowing a small crater in the ground we can look at isn’t going to hurt the 99.99999% rest of the planet, and it isn’t any more damaging that meteor impacts that we can still see dot the planet.


#17

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