Most Prolific Star-Forming Galaxies of the Early Universe Detected by New Atacama Desert Large Array A team of astronomers has used the new ALMA ( Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array ) telescope to pinpoint the locations of over 100 of the most fertile star-forming galaxies in the early Universe . ALMA is so powerful that, in just a few hours, it captured as many observations of these galaxies as have been made by all similar telescopes worldwide over a span of more than a decade. The most fertile bursts of star birth in the early Universe took place in distant galaxies containing lots of cosmic dust. These galaxies are of key importance to our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution over the history of the Universe, but the dust obscures them and makes them difficult to identify with visible-light telescopes.
A laboratory experiment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory , Pasadena, Calif., simulating the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan suggests complex organic chemistry that could eventually lead to the building blocks of life extends lower in the atmosphere than previously thought. The results now point out another region on the moon that could brew up prebiotic materials. "Scientists previously thought that as we got closer to the surface of Titan, the moon's atmospheric chemistry was basically inert and dull," said Murthy Gudipati, the paper's lead author at JPL. "Our experiment shows that's not true. The same kind of light that drives biological chemistry on Earth's surface could also drive chemistry on Titan, even though Titan receives far less light from the sun and is much colder. Titan is not a sleeping giant in the lower atmosphere, but at least half awake in its chemical activity." "Titan's Atmosphere Points to Building Blocks of Life" --NASA Astrobiology
The team created experiments with powerful laboratory "guns" and computer models that replicated the conditions that existed inside comets that hit Earth's atmosphere at almost 25,000 miles per hour and crashed down upon the surface. The research is part of a broader scientific effort to understand how amino acids and other ingredients for the first living things appeared on a planet that billions of years ago was barren and desolate. Amino acids make up proteins, which are the workhorses of all forms of life, ranging from microbes to people. "Our research shows that the building blocks of life could, indeed, have remained intact despite the tremendous shock wave and other violent conditions in a comet impact," Blank said. "Comets really would have been the ideal packages for delivering ingredients for the chemical evolution thought to have resulted in life. We like the comet delivery scenario because it includes all of the ingredients for life — amino acids, water and energy." Did Comets Deliver Amino Acids Needed for the Origin of Life on Earth? (Weekend Feature)
Organic chemists at the University of York have made a significant advance towards establishing the origin of the carbohydrates (sugars) that form the building blocks of life. A team led by Dr Paul Clarke in the Department of Chemistry at York have re-created a process which could have occurred in the prebiotic world. "There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become living -- everything up to that point is chemistry," Clarke said. "We are trying to understand the chemical origins of life. One of the interesting questions is where carbohydrates come from because they are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. New Clue to the Chemical Origins of Carbohydrates --The building blocks of DNA and RNA
"The fate of the mRNA molecules we studied resembles a Greek tragedy," said Robert Singer, Ph.D., co-director of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center and professor and co-chair of anatomy and structural biology at Einstein College of Medicine. "Their lifespans are determined at the moment of their birth." Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered the first known mechanism by which cells control the survival of messenger RNA (mRNA) -- arguably biology's most important molecule. The findings pertain to mRNAs that help regulate cell division and could therefore have implications for reversing cancer's out-of-control cell division. The research is described in today's online edition of the journal Cell. Messenger RNA Discovery: "Biology's Most Important Molecule" --Built-in 'Clock' Causes Its Ultimate Death
How did life on Earth begin? An giant step toward solving this puzzle was taken in the 1980's with the Nobel Prize–winning discovery by Tom Cech and Sidney Altman that RNA, the sister molecule of DNA, can catalyze certain chemical reactions inside cells, a job previously thought to be the exclusive domain of proteins. Until their discovery, RNA was thought to have just one function: storing the genetic information cells need to build proteins. This new revelation about RNA's dual role suggested to some scientists, including Harvard's Jack Szostak, that RNA likely existed long before DNA or proteins because it might be able to catalyze its own reproduction. Their discovery made it easier to think about how life began, Szostak says. Did Life on Earth Emerge from Non-organic Matter? (Today's Most Popular)
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Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010) Rosneft Completes Acquisition of TNK-BP By STANLEY REED With the sale to the Russian oil giant, BP aimed to resolve one of two problems that have clouded its future and depressed its stock price. March 22, 2013, Friday BP Appeals Spill Compensation Ruling
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