Sunday, September 18, 2011

Origins of Life

Spitzer's Orion Nebula 
NASA APOD September 17 2011

The famous Cosmic Nursery in a spectacular false-color photo taken with NASA Spitzer Space Telescope.  Jet Propulsion California Institute of Technology. "The brightest portion of the nebula is likewise centered on Orion's young, massive, hot stars, known as the Trapezium Cluster. But the infrared image also detects the nebula's many protostars, still in the process of formation, seen here in red hues."

"The Spitzer Space Telescope is the final mission in NASA's Great Observatories Program - a family of four space-based observatories, each observing the Universe in a different kind of light. The other missions in the program include the visible-light Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (CXO)."

"Spitzer is designed to detect infrared radiation, which is primarily heat radiation. It is comprised of two major components:
The Cryogenic Telescope Assembly, which contains the a 85 centimeter telescope and Spitzer's three scientific instruments
The Spacecraft, which controls the telescope, provides power to the instruments, handles the scientific data and communicates with Earth"
(Spitzer home)

The Stellar Nursery of Orion Nebula is not a nice place where baby stars are quietly born. Instead, the vivid image gives us humans some feeling of the astrophysical energy, cosmic explosive chemistry, enormous gravitational forces and winds that make our worst hurricanes look minor indeed.

The image gives some indication about the Big Bang of our favorite modern theory about how everything began. Enormous forces and star formation in the midst of deadly radiation.

There really is no place for biological life in the cosmic nurseries of stars and even less in the incomprehensible Big Bang, the first Atom.


So modern scientific world view does have a description - not an explanation but a description - of how our Universe possibly began. (Of course, there is some dark stuff for the scientists yet to be clarified but work on this is progressing rapidly!)

Bessemer converter (ref)

But how on earth does life begin in this violent turbulent and inhospitable Cosmos? It is like going to a steel factory and looking for signs of life in a huge Bessemer converter in action.

That is the Big Question for humanity - what is life and how it began? For as we know it only life begets life.


Green Earth (ref)

Geologists have discovered signs of life in the very inhospitable environment that prevailed on planet Earth some 3 billion years ago, only 1.5 billion years after the planet was formed and the crust had cooled down.

They tell us that life explodes during the Cambrian era some 600 million years ago first in the seas, then emerging, evolving, flourishing, withering and dying within the great order of the Geological Eras of Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic.

We could call them modified Days of Creation.

In His majestic way God of Israel says through prophet Isaiah that He made this place habitable
(and we can comment today that "not inhabitable like Mars")

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), 
“I am the LORD, and there is none else."
 I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; 
I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright."
Isaiah 45:18-20 NASB


God does not tell us in His Word declaring the upright how He made this planet habitable for life and not a "waste place" כוננה לא תהו
(konena lo tohu. The word tohu is close to chaos and appears in Gen 1:1 tohu vebohu)

The great Book of Nature is open for us to study and to try to understand His marvelous works.

Excellent introductions to this not-so-simple matter of Astrobiology are the two bestsellers by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee:

Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe (2000)

The Life and Death of Planet Earth (2002)

No comments:

Post a Comment