DNA From The Cosmos

An interesting article from astronomy.com discusses an experiment in which scientists exposed ice mixtures to ultraviolet radiation to simulate the effects interstellar space may have on the compounds found in asteroids and comets. Amazingly enough, they found the experiments resulted in 2-deoxyribose, (the component that makes up the “D” in DNA)

We are stardust, we are golden.
We are caught in the devils bargain.
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Woodstock

This doesn’t prove or disprove that DNA, the basic scaffolding of life, can just spontaneously appear from space dust, but it’s certainly one letter closer than it was just a year ago year. It’s an amazing set of results from a truly worthwhile experiment.

I can’t help but feel that this idea, that life somehow spontaneously appeared from out of nowhere, simply by chance, in an empty, lonely expanding universe, seems — well, just a bit disappointing and futile. That life could exist merely by chance on top of the fact that our own existence will likely not register as even a moment on the scale of the universe is a heavy burden to carry. It’s a thought that you have to bury and for me at least, it digs deeper than the thought of my own mortality. We don’t wander around sad that we’re going to die in 40 or 50 years (or however old you are/however long you think you’re going live) and of course we should’t wander around being bummed about the fact that existence is happenstance.

But what if…

What if life truly is just pure luck? A little space dust and some space rays and voila you’ve got yourself a person. What if the person builds new a thing with space dust and space rays? What if that thing is used to build new things and so on and so forth?

What if it’s all connected? What if it’s all part of an endlessly recursive loop building on top of itself infinitely. Each iteration contains instructions to build on top of itself, to become more and more complex. Each iteration is dependent on the one that came before it.

What if we are the universe? We were born from the universe, we’re intimately intertwined with it. It is in some ways a bit naive to say that we’re somehow independent from the universe. You may feel that way in your day-to-day life, but you’re not separate from this, you’re a part of it. The universe may in fact be an empty, lonely expanding universe. But it’s alone with its thoughts. With the thoughts of the life it’s a part of; the life that is growing and expanding infinitely.

We are the universe.

That’s a much brighter view, isn’t it?

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