NASA Gives Us Sugar in Space to Confirm Building Blocks of Life are Everywhere

NASA astrophysicists were able to create DNA’s sugar in laboratory conditions that mimic interstellar space. The sugar molecular is the D in DNA.

“We don’t yet know whether life is common in the universe, but we’re pretty sure the presence of life’s building blocks is not a limiting factor,” said Michel Nuevo, a researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and the lead author of the paper.

The results represent the first solid evidence of the formation of DNA’s sugar in an astrophysical setting.

We are finding that water and liquid water are common in space. We are finding that planets and rocky planets are common. We are finding that moons with liquid water and rocket bodies are common.

Liquid water, under ice on rocky moons are on over a dozen bodies in our own solar system.

The building blocks of life should be common.

There has not been confirmation of a lot of single cell life around space but there should be a lot of DNA and RNA and amino acids.

This Provides More Evidence that at Least Simple Life is Probably Everywhere

All of life’s critical chemical building blocks should be widespread in the universe and potentially seed other planets as well.

Nature Communications – Deoxyribose and deoxysugar derivatives from photoprocessed astrophysical ice analogues and comparison to meteorites

Abstract – Deoxyribose and deoxysugar derivatives from photoprocessed astrophysical ice analogues and comparison to meteorites

Sugars and their derivatives are essential to all terrestrial life. Their presence in meteorites, together with amino acids, nucleobases, amphiphiles, and other compounds of biological importance, may have contributed to the inventory of organics that played a role in the emergence of life on Earth. Sugars, including ribose (the sugar of RNA), and other sugar derivatives have been identified in laboratory experiments simulating photoprocessing of ices under astrophysical conditions. In this work, we report the detection of 2-deoxyribose (the sugar of DNA) and several deoxysugar derivatives in residues produced from the ultraviolet irradiation of ice mixtures consisting of H2O and CH3OH. The detection of deoxysugar derivatives adds to the inventory of compounds of biological interest that can form under astrophysical conditions and puts constraints on their abiotic formation pathway. Finally, we report that some of the deoxysugar derivatives found in our residues are also newly identified in carbonaceous meteorites.

19 thoughts on “NASA Gives Us Sugar in Space to Confirm Building Blocks of Life are Everywhere”

  1. As I recall, the news about the organism in the American west that was reportedly using arsenic instead of phosphorous in its metabolism turned out to be a fake.

    Even before was discredited, however, I felt it was significant to point out that this purported organism was supposed to have evolved from an earlier form that had used phosphorous. Indicating a certain likelihood that it may not be possible for an organism to arise from some “molecular soup of life” already using arsenic in place of phosphorous.

    Just as, despite some of the atomic similarities between carbon and silicon, as researchers have expanded their knowledge, few of them really expect a naturally evolved silicon-based life form to be a possibility (although I don’t entirely discount the possibility that it might be doable in a lab some day by “sciencing the *&@# out of it).”

  2. I didn’t specify whether the NASA researcher or Brian was the stand-in for the hypothetical blacksmith (in this case it was Brian). Sorry, if I overestimated the double-secret anonymous poster’s basic reading comprehension.

    I wasn’t having issues with what Michael Nuevo, the researcher, said, “We don’t yet know whether life is common in the universe, but we’re pretty sure the presence of life’s building blocks is not a limiting factor . . .”

    The problem was the section heading below that which read: “This Provides More Evidence that at Least Simple Life is Probably Everywhere

    I felt this was misleading in that, in the same way that buying a second lottery ticket may make you more likely to win, but it doesn’t mean you are likely to be a winner.

    Worse, in the context of the article, this would be accurate only if the NASA guy had said something more like: “At least simple life is probably everywhere in the universe, because this research indicates the presence of life’s building blocks is not a limiting factor . . .

    But he didn’t say that and would probably repudiate any implication that he did.

    P.S.: I’m not really attempting to slam on Brian either. He’s a pretty busy guy and I recognize that he can’t spend as much time as we do on some things. I value what he does (heh, most of it, anyway), and, by the fact we keep coming here, I think most of us do, other than the trolls.

  3. Basic reading comprehension.

    Try something like “We don’t yet know whether high quality steel is around in abundance, but we’re pretty sure the presence of high quality steel’s building blocks is not a limiting factor”

  4. Unfortunately, a “simple” one celled living organism is vastly beyond any cake. Trillions of years wouldn’t be enough via chance processes.

  5. Arsenic is also an odd-numbered element, and much heavier than phosphorus. If phosphorus is rare, arsenic is probably even rarer. You can’t get odd-numbered elements by helium fusion in supernovae and heavy stars, so they have to be produced by other mechanisms.

    So I was thinking more in the direction of sulfur-based alternatives. Sulfur is much more common, and can do many of the things that phosphorus can. Yet we don’t see such equivalents on Earth. So my theory is, if they could evolve, the phosphorus-using life must have some overwhelming advantage.

    Another possible explanation is that life uses whatever’s available. Since there is phosphorus on Earth, it ended up using both phosphorus and sulfur. And from there it’s an optimization race to do whatever is more efficient, even if the advantage isn’t huge. So the two ended where they did because that works better.

  6. The most complex computer is still more dumber then the simplest lifeforms and people believe these lifeforms created themselves, the law of nature is to go from a complex state to a simpler state and yet we have such an abundance of life, abundance of light, complex eco systems and orbits and yet people want you to believe they just happened?

    Nothing happens without something making it happen unless your a spoon fed rich kid or worse still a devil worshiper trying to drag the naive into Hell with you.

  7. The building blocks are everywhere….?

    You mean that the matter in our solar system, and the universe beyond, forms compounds of modest complexity? Hmm.

  8. Some sources claim that some birds have cognitive abilities rivaling notably intelligent mammals like dogs and primates. Lack of thumbs is a problem…

  9. It’s good that these “building blocks” for life are not rare because, with all the other conditions necessary to turn these building blocks into advanced life, there would be none at all if they were rare (and phosphorous might be really rare).

    This is kinda like a blacksmith in an alternate universe, where carbon is super rare, discovering iron is common in the cosmos and deciding high quality steel could be all around in abundance.

  10. To be fair, that would get you a cake, if you had billions of cake tins, and billions of years to keep trying it.

  11. They said microbes .Very simple .very adaptable. The more complex. The more it has to adapt to .it’s environment. Stephen .Once said inteligeint .organisms were not necessarily. The most likely. To survive .Dinosaurs .lasted for hundreds .of millions .Of years yet never came close to our level of intelectal acheivement

  12. There is still the question of phosphorus, which is necessary to link the nucleosides in DNA and RNA (nucleoside = nucleobase + sugar), as well as for multiple other roles (ATP or equivalent, cell walls, etc).

    The “amphiphiles” in the abstract is various lipids and possibly fatty acids. The former likely includes phospholipids, but that’s because there is phosphorus in our solar system. But its abundance elsewhere has been put into question recently, and I think the jury is still out on that.

    Maybe phosphorus isn’t actually necessary for life, and alternatives could evolve in the absence of phosphorus (with phosphorus, such life may be outcompeted to extinction by phosphorus-using life – hence none on Earth). But we don’t know that either.

Comments are closed.