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Extraterrestrial life: Wood alcohol one of the keys?

File:Methanol Lewis.svg

In “’Sweet spot’ for life’s chemistry found, scientists say,” Irene Klotz reports, “Methanol discovery has implications for understanding where to look for life.”

Methanol (wood alcohol), we are told, can trigger complex organic chemistry, so given that it didn’t likely exist on early Earth, some researchers have sought it in space.

In other words, find the methanol and scientists believe you find the chemical pathways to life.

“Searching for methanol in various regions in space will tell researchers where to look for other complex organic molecules, which will eventually lead to the formation of life,” astronomer Sachindev Shenoy, with NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, told Discovery News.

And some young stars do produce methanol.

Now that we have learned that complex, organic molecules lead eventually to the formation of life, we learn

“The clouds we’re observing appear to harbor more favorable conditions for life than the pre-solar cloud from which our solar system formed. And there is life in our solar system,” Amanda Cook, a post-doctoral research fellow at NASA Ames, told Discovery News. “The implication is that life may have an even easier time taking root, so to speak, in other parts of the galaxy.”

So Earth has life even though our solar system doesn’t meet these people’s criterion. And that supposedly shows that solar systems that do meet their criterion foster life more easily? Not that they have evidence or anything.

It’s come to this.

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2 Responses to Extraterrestrial life: Wood alcohol one of the keys?

  1. Alcohol doesn’t come anywhere near close to explaining the origination of functional information in life, ‘extraterrestrial life’ or otherwise, but drinking lots of alcohol does readily explain why the researchers would think that alcohol does help;

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    Richard Dawkins admits to ‘extraterrestrial’ Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8

    AWOLNATION – “SAIL” (Official Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPtSKimbjOU

  2. Oooohhh!! Actually, anyone who drinks the methyl stuff – as you know – will get to meet some awfully dedicated ER staff if they are lucky. Did you know that methyl alcohol is often added to ethyl alcohol bound for industrial uses to prevent it getting snarled in liquor laws?

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