Life in the Universe
Professor Richard B. Hoover, famous astrobiologist, ex-head of the Astrobiological Group of NASA, gave a lecture at KAI.
The public lecture took place at 8th Academic Building of KNRTU-KAI (GRIAT) on August, the 1st .
The lecture «Life in the Universe» attracted not only students and employees of KNRTU-KAI, but also many Kazan residents who came to listen to the eminent scientist, despite the fact that the lecture was conducted in English. The scientist told the audience about the results of his research: he found out that microorganisms of extraterrestrial origin were found on a number of meteorites of a particular type that had been investigated. He illustrated his speech with graphs, photographs and video recordings of experiments.
The key elements of this lecture are summarised below.
1) Evidence for Ancient Biology in Carbonaceous Meteorites:
- Mineralized/carbonized filaments in meteorites have unambiguous biological features of cyanobacteria & filamentous prokaryotes
- Electronic Data Systems Data Show Carbon Enhancement of embedded filaments & sheaths over Meteorite Rock => Indigenous Microfossils
- N content <0.5% ~ Archaean Cyanobacteria & Cambrian Trilobites but Dramatically Different from Living/Pleistocene Organisms => Meteorite Filaments are NOT Modern Biological Contaminants
- Absence of unstable life-critical biomolecules: 12 protein amino acids; nucleobases (Cytosine & Thymine); Sugars (Ribose & Deoxyribose) => Meteorites are not Contaminated
- Filaments are ancient fossilized remains of Cyanobacteria and other Trichomic Prokaryotes that were present in the stones when these Carbonaceous Meteorites entered the Earth's Atmosphere
Cosmic Dust is Universal & Essential to Life
- Recycles Elements & Organic Molecules from Star & Planet Formation to Mass Loss in Final Stages of Stellar Evolution
- Delivers Life-Critical Bioelements & Organics
- Main Source of Cosmic Dust on Earth is IDP's and Micrometeorites Ejected from Comets
- Water is the Dominant Volatile in Comets
- CHON particles of Comets and CI & CM Carbonaceous Meteorites are ~ Kerogen
- Comets get Hot near Perihelion: Subsurface Ices Melt Giving Suitable Habitats for Microbial Life & Produce Explosive Jets
- Fossils in Meteorites => Extraterrestrial Life
- Vanadyl Porphyrines, Pristane & Phytane in Meteorites – Biomolecular Evidence of Indigenous Photosynthetic Processes – LIFE
- Absence of Chlorins, Carotenoids & Phycobilin Pigments of Photosynthetic Organisms Indicate Antiquity of Death – NO RECENT BIOLOGY
- Astonishing Preservation of delicate Fimbriae shows Organisms Died & Preserved Quickly (No Degradation by Microbial Predators) Suggests Rapid Release of Water – Cometary Jets.
At the end of the lecture, everyone could ask their questions to the scientist. In particular, when answering a question about whether what he said meant that life on the planet Earth was brought from space, Dr. Hoover noted that this is very likely. At the same time, in his opinion, comets are rather a mechanism for the spread of life from one celestial body to another. "The big question is in the very essence of the origin of life. Comets could play a role in this process, but this is a much more complicated issue," he said. In addition, Professor Hoover noted that he was skeptical of all sorts of alternative biochemistry, in particular, the possibility of the existence of other "non-carbon" life forms, for example, silicon-based, because, according to him, carbon has exceptional physical properties that conduce its role in biological processes, and the laws of physics are applicable to the entire universe.
* Richard B. Hoover is known for his research in astrobiology. Professor Richard B. Hoover is the author of 33 books, about 250 scientific articles in astrobiology. He is also known as a the author of articles in the field of studying diatoms and extremophilic living organisms.Since 1966, Professor Hoover has worked at NASA's George Marshall Space Flight Center. In 1997, on his initiative, the Astrobiology Group was created in the center, which he headed until 2011. Currently, Hoover is a visiting professor at the Center for Astrobiology at Buckingham University (The University of Buckingham), United Kingdom. At the invitation of Oleg Morozov, head of the department of radio-photonics and microwave technologies of KNITU-KAI, and his postgraduate student Alexander Ivanov, president of the student section of the International Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).