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Jupiter’s moon Europa scene of the latest hunt for life

It’s August. Slo Nooz Day is every day. Best time to air speculations that would be silted under by tonnes of serious news in October. At Slashdot, we learn “Earth Ejecta Could Seed Life On Europa” ( August 22, 2011),

Astrobiologists estimate that Earth’s hardiest organisms can survive up to 30,000 years in space, which means that if conditions are just right, Earth ejecta could seed life there.”

Europa, seen from NASA's Galileo

Which means, if we do find life in the solar system, how do we know it is not from Earth?

Rob Sheldon comments,

I think there’s a very good chance it is from Earth unless it is older than 3.8 billion years. (Determined from isotope ratios in fossils.) In which case, we might say, “How do we know life on Earth is not from space?”

The beauty is, we don’t. Free style speculation rules.

File under: Hope flings eternal

File with: We hear from the fans of Saturn’s moon Enceladus

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4 Responses to Jupiter’s moon Europa scene of the latest hunt for life

  1. That depends on whether you accept evolution or ID. If it’s ID, you’ll never know whether it’s from Earth, because you don’t what the designer has done. But if evolution is correct then its genome (if it has one) should indicate a relationship with its Earth relatives, if its from Earth, and give an indication of when the divergence took place. If not from Earth, it should show complete independence from any familial relationship with any Earth organism.

  2. Because it most likely won’t use exactly the same genetic code.

    If it does, it’s either from earth, or both share a common origin.

  3. Do a DNA test.

  4. Sure, but having the same DNA as Earth creatures would not establish that it came from Earth. Both may have come from elsewhere. Alternatively, the DNA was arrived at independently because it is the only workable formula. (The “all tires are round, no matter who manufactured them, how, why, or where” principle.)

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