Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #Astrobiology

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#ufotwitter #astrobiology #FrankDrake #SETI
Today in ET Life History - The Drake Equestion
November 1, 1961 - The Order of the Dolphin
1/At a small, informal conference on SETI at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s facility in Green Bank, West Virginia, astronomer
2/Frank Drake writes this equation on a chalkboard: N = R fp ne fl fi fc L. The equation, the Green Bank Formula, summarizes the main concepts that scientists must contemplate when considering the question of extraterrestrial life capable of communicating by radio across space.
3/ It is more properly thought of as an approximation rather than as a serious attempt to determine a precise number. Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, and John C. Lilly in 1991.
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🚀 We are live! Here is the correct streaming link for all of today's discussions and performances, starting with a panel on complex time with David Krakauer, James Gleick, Ted Chiang, and David Wolpert in a few moments (measured linearly...):

"One of the ideas we had with #InterPlanetary was, 'What would it take to make science hedonistic? And instead of telling people to do it, you'd have to tell people to STOP doing it?"

- SFI President David Krakauer sets the tone for this weekend's celebrations
#IPFest Image
David Krakauer: "Do you have a favorite model or metaphor for #time?"

@JamesGleick: "You've already mentioned a river; that's everybody's favorite. Borges said time is a tiger. People talk about it as a thread. We ONLY talk about time in metaphors." Image
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My paper with Stuart Bartlett on "Provenance of Life" is finally out in @PhysRevE ! We simulated a simple chemical system, and showed its ability to learn by association, and use this defend itself against a threat.
A thread🧵#astrobiology #OriginOfLife…
It all started when Stuart and Michael Wong @miquai proposed a new broader definition for "life". They wanted to cover not only life as we know it on Earth but also "as it could be elsewhere in the Universe". They called this new concept "LYFE".…
Their definition is based on 4 pillars :
* Dissipation
* Auto-catalysis
* Homeostasis
* Learning.
The first three pillars imply that to be considered « alive », a system should be able to dissipate free energy, self-replicate, and maintain its internal balance.
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"'The #energy that flows through a system acts to organize that system,' Harold Morowitz wrote in 1968. Decades later he would team up with physicist Eric Smith at SFI, and the collaboration would lay out a new theory of #abiogenesis."

"According to Smith & Morowitz, life emerged b/c Earth’s geochemistry created an excess of chemical energy. Organic chemistry self-organize[s] when sufficient energy [flows] through the system. Given enough time, a self-maintaining chemical system emerges that can copy itself."
"'If life in its abundance were bound to arise, not as an incalculably improbable accident, but as an expected fulfillment of the natural order,' writes origins-of-life pioneer Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute, 'then we truly are at home in the universe.'"
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Good morning followers, new and not-new! After the flux of newcomers this weekend, I thought I’d introduce a little bit more about me + my journey so far to becoming a scientific/data illustrator. Read within! ⬇️🧵🪞🔬👨🏻‍🎓 #bio #aboutme #art #artist #scientificillustration #sciart Portrait of MarkIllustrated banner for Mark...Illustrated banner for Mark...
My name's Mark and I am super passionate about telling science stories with the power of visual media🎨 I love illustration, I learn best with visuals, and I am constantly looking for (er, doodling?) ways to make pictures say MORE than just "a thousand words” 😉 Introductory portrait of Ma...Showcase of various example...5 icons in the center of th...Picture of Mark drawing on ...
I've always been drawn to art as a kid. Ever since I could hold a pencil, I've been creatively engaged. Growing up I was discouraged from pursuing art (who wasn't?) and so I gradually developed an interest in science. Natural History is my favourite subject. 🌐🪱🐒🦀🦩🍄🪸🪐✨
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It's good to be back! Follow this thread for the video stream & live coverage of tonight's first SFI Community Lecture at @TheLensic in two years, featuring @Sara_Imari on the #physics of living #systems.
And stay tuned for an extraordinary lineup of additional talks this year...
Live stream starts in one minute!
SFI's @ChrisKempes introduces tonight's speaker @Sara_Imari (@sfiscience, @beyond_asu) by quoting #HaroldMorowitz about how, to find life beyond Earth, we must understand the *origins* of life...
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How likely is intelligent life to exist in our galaxy? Why, hello Drake Equation, let's have a conversation!

I've always heard this is a great exercise to have over cocktails or at late night parties. A holiday week is perfect! Artist: @alancraddock01 #NfoLD #Astrobiology #Alien Image
What does this even mean? It's an equation to broadly estimate how many intelligent civilizations exist within our galaxy right now that we can communicate with. In this case, N = how many of those civilizations exist! How about those other terms?
R* = Average rate of star formation
Fp = Fraction of stars that have planets
Ne = Average # of planets that can chemically develop life
Fl = Do they actually develop life?
Fi = Develop intelligent life?
Fc = Develop advanced technology?
L = How long do they broadcast signals?
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#Astrobiology it is! 🦠 🌃 🔭

Not a surprise. Most of us have asked ourselves whether we are alone in the nearby universe, whether there is other life, and if so, whether it is microbial, macroscopic, or even intelligent...

But how can we study something we don't know exists?
Britannica defines astrobiology as a "multidisciplinary field dealing with the nature, existence, and search for extraterrestrial life" - practically spot on, but we should emphasize that for this, we study the evolution of life on Earth, extreme conditions it can survive...
Plus to learn the chances of life elsewhere, we need to know about the lifetime and 'behavior' of stars, planetary geophysics, atmospheric physics...

In short, astrobiology is a huge interdisciplinary field encompassing biology, chemistry, geology, physics, but also humanities! Rover Under the Milky Way - Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drill
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🧬 Life as we don't know it 🧫

Exotic solvents & life's building blocks are among the more speculative
#astrobiology topics, but still important to study scientifically! Our own system contains places potentially able to host life unlike on Earth. Not just Titan!

All Earth life is carbon-based and needs water to survive. 💦

'Mildly' exotic life might share these traits, but use e.g. other information molecule (or differently coded DNA, even with different/more 'letters') or opposite chirality (left/right-handedness) of some compounds. ImageImage
There are countless possibilities of different information molecules and their coding. Is Earth DNA and RNA a ', frozen accident', or does it have a phys/chem reason? And is all life chiral? In the same way, or is that another frozen accident? What about the amino acids we use? Image
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I promised an #Enceladus thread yesterday; it starts here! Let's take a look at this tiny, but all the more interesting icy moon of Saturn! 🪐
Though discovered already in the late 18th century by William Herschel, we had long known extremely little about it. 🔭

That changed with the Voyager flybys! 🛰️
This image was taken by Voyager 2 on August 25, 1981, from about 110,000 km away. It shows cratering, but also bright ice, grooves, some crater-poor areas. That suggested parts of the surface were very young - the tiny moon was active!
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We've had several astrobiologist hosting @People_Of_Space already, for instance the wonderful @cosmobiologist, but unless I'm mistaken, most were US-based. Can you pursue an #astrobiology career elsewhere?

Well of course :)! I have a few Europe-based suggestions. Image
First of all, like elsewhere, specialized programs are few and the most usual career path is to study biology, chemistry, astronomy or another related field and pursue interdisciplinary, astrobiological subjects - factors of habitability, life detection... Image
However, it's always nice to know astrobiological programs, labs and networks! For students and early career professionals, @abgradeurope offers wonderful opportunities in networking, forums (now online) and info on astrobiology in Europe. Including this online spring school! ⬇️ Image
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#PlanetaryProtection has an enormous impact on interplanetary #astrobiology mission design and execution. Check out the rest of this thread for a few case studies on how it has been implemented over the years!

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
During the #Apollo era, it was unknown whether life existed on the Moon. To prevent contamination of the Earth’s biosphere by lunar microbes, both astronauts and the samples they collected were subject to quarantine following return to Earth.

Image: NASA
Following splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins were transferred to a camper-like mobile quarantine facility. From there, they were transported to Johnson Space Center, where they spent 3 weeks in quarantine.

Images: NASA
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"Even as possible discoveries are announced, they arrive with debate & quickly fizzle because we cannot confirm #AlienLife has actually been discovered."

SFI/@ASU's @Sara_Imari argues for a more fundamental theory of #biology in @Slate's @FutureTenseNow:…
“What should a #UniversalTheory for life look like? It will have to account for features of #LivingSystems that no current laws of #Physics and #Chemistry can explain. That is, it will have to pinpoint processes in the universe that occur only because of life."
- @Sara_Imari
For more on Agnostic #Biosignature Detection (aka, how to look for life that looks nothing like the life we know), check out our episode of #ComplexityPodcast with SFI Fellow @nataliegref:

#Astrobiology #ET #Aliens
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I learned something today in #astrobiology that just totally blew my mind.
There are microbes that eat....air. And can live on just....air.

These microbes live in cold deserts...I mean really brutal cold deserts. Barren rocky ridges (not even tundra) in Antarctica.
There's really no free water - very dry. And dark for 6 months, too. So these microbes live where there isn't enough water for photosynthesis producers.
They live on the trace amounts hydrogen gas (H2) in the atmosphere (about 190 parts per BILLION), and CO (20 parts per BILLION). So these things are living on tiny tiny tiny amounts of stuff.
But...they are still living.
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What started with checking some assumptions in #originsoflife and IUPAC definitions, culminated in our universal framework for autocatalysis, now in @PNASNews:…. The unforeseen diversity and abundance of that phenomenon convinced me to do #systemschemistry.
There are some interesting consequences that I hope to discuss in the coming few days. Today, I will outline where it all starts: definitions in chemistry and their implications. (1/n)
Like compound names and atomic weights, terminology in chemistry is critically evaluated, developed and maintained by IUPAC. Definitions in chemistry are compiled in the Gold Book: (2/n)
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@mikamckinnon @SiO2moyer @justinboldaji Carlsbad and Lechuguilla Caves have a really wierd and fascinating geology history. They were made by bacteria!
@mikamckinnon @SiO2moyer @justinboldaji The story goes like this. Gypsum laid down. Then...thick thick limestone laid down on top of that. Way way down deep, microbes eat gypsum, H2S bubbles up. (Microbes reduce sulfate). ((there might be other ways H2S bubbles up.)) That gets H2S percolating up into the limestone.
@mikamckinnon @SiO2moyer @justinboldaji Then, up higher in the limestone layers, there are places where oxygen in water mixes with H2S charged waters. Some bacteria love this! They can eat H2S in the water and combine with O2 in the water and get energy!!!
They pee out sulfuric acid! (H2SO4)
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Mimicking Simple Life Without Biochemistry

Follow this thread for insights from today's SFI Seminar by Juan Pérez-Mercader (SFI + @Harvard), which you can watch live on our FB page. Recording will be saved for later viewing at this link, as well as YT:…
More info about today's seminar by SFI External Professor Juan Pérez-Mercader (@Harvard) on Mimicking Simple Life Without Biochemistry:…

#astrobiology #biochemistry #complexity
What properties characterize life? The search for a fundamental theory of #biology continues to face some serious challenges:
• n = 1
• no unified math
• can't modify carbon experimentally
• biology is still process-description
BUT: ✨ info-metabolism-replication-evolution ✨
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Are viruses alive?
(Here is the thread y’all have been waiting for….)

Our survey says…..Yes! They are!

What do I think? Mmmmmm. No. they are not….well..sorta.
But no.

Digging into the big #science questions of #astrobiology
Definition of life is pretty fuzzy. Seems like its easy “yes or no” but IMHO it’s a big wonderfully complex beautiful spectrum. And by thinking about it, and how we would measure it, we can make better tests for detecting “life” on alien worlds, with alien biochemistries.
Here is a great link on “life” from NASA Astrobiology:…
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"Life did not invent #DNA."

Experimental support for the #hotsprings hypothesis for life's origin: David Deamer of @ucsc on nucleic acid polymerization in the wet-dry cycling of Darwin's "warm little pond," powered by #geothermal. Lab results confirmed in #hydrothermal pools.
From "boring statistical partitioning" in the fission of early protocells to the complex #homeostasis-driven #mitosis of the cells we know - Doron Lancet of @WeizmannInstSci on the gradient between closure of #autocatalysis #networks to complex regulatory mechanisms of #biology.
"Life is an integrated nested network of dynamic #kinetic cycles."

Addy Pross emphasizes the importance of motion to the persistent forms of self-organizing #complexsystems at SFI today
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