Charles Darwin is credited with the idea that life on Earth has evolved into shallow water pools. Now, new research suggests that instead of living from a "warm little pond", it may have come from deep-sea hydrothermal vents – an idea that could make a difference to extraterrestrial life.
A study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution suggests that these deep-sea environments had the heat and alkalinity to start life.
"There are numerous competing theories as to where and how life began," said the lead author of the study, University College London professor Nick Lane, in a statement. "Underwater hydrothermal vents are among the most promising places to start life ̵
Meteorite Life  Lane and other researchers were able to recreate a depth-like environment using "protocelles with a mixture of different fatty acids and fatty alcohols" that previous unsuccessful experiments did not use.
They have found that molecules with longer carbon chains need heat to form protocelles, and the alkaline solution helps to maintain the electrical charge. Sun water was also helpful as the fat molecules formed a stronger, more stable vesicle or structure.
In 2012, a study was published that at the time was believed to have proven Darwin correctly where Earth life originated.
In 1871, Darwin wrote a letter to the British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker that life might have begun in a "small little pond".
"It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of life are now present and organisms that could once be present," Darwin wrote in a letter digitized by the Darwin correspondence project. "But if (and oh, how big, if) we can conceive in a warm pond with all kinds of ammonia and phosphorus salts, – the presence of light, heat, electricity, and that the protein compound is chemically formed, ready to undergo even more complex changes, nowadays such matter would be instantaneously absorbed or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living beings were formed. "
Previous fatty acid protocell experiments were successful in cool, fresh water, but "only under very tightly controlled conditions," the statement added. Other previous protochemical experiments in hydrothermal vents have failed.
"In our experiments, we created one of the essential components of life under conditions that are more reflective of ancient environments than many other laboratory studies," the study's co-authors, Sean Jordan, added in the statement.
"We do not yet know where life first came from, but our study shows that you cannot rule out the possibility of deep-sea hydrothermal vents," Jordan continued.
BUILDING UNITS OF LIFE CAN BE FROM THE DEEP SPACE: "A KEY TO CONNECTING FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS FOR HUMANS" as  Earth, this can have consequences for life in the universe – these openings are elsewhere in the solar system.
"Space missions have found evidence that the ice moons of Jupiter and Saturn may also have similar alkaline hydrothermal ants in their seas," Lane said. "While we have never seen evidence of the life of these moons if we are to find life on other planets or moons, studies like ours can help us decide where to look. "
In August, NASA formally endorsed a mission to Jupiter's Moon Europe, a hike that could answer whether an ice celestial body could be habitable to humans and sustain life.
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