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  1. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Dust comes to life

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Domoviye, Aug 13, 2007.

    Dust ‘comes alive’ in space - Times Online

    SCIENTISTS have discovered that inorganic material can take on the characteristics of living organisms in space, a development that could transform views of alien life.

    An international panel from the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck institute in Germany and the University of Sydney found that galactic dust could form spontaneously into helixes and double helixes and that the inorganic creations had memory and the power to reproduce themselves.

    A similar rethinking of prospective alien life is being undertaken by the National Research Council, an advisory body to the US government. It says Nasa should start a search for what it describes as “weird life” - organisms that lack DNA or other molecules found in life on Earth.

    The new research, to be published this week in the New Journal of Physics, found nonorganic dust, when held in the form of plasma in zero gravity, formed the helical structures found in DNA. The particles are held together by electromagnetic forces that the scientists say could contain a code comparable to the genetic information held in organic matter. It appeared that this code could be transferred to the next generation.

    Professor Greg Morfill, of the Max Planck institute of extra-terrestrial physics, said: “Going by our current narrow definitions of what life is, it qualifies.

    “The question now is to see if it can evolve to become intelligent. It’s a little bit like science fiction at the moment. The potential level of complexity we are looking at is of an amoeba or a plant.

    “I do not believe that the systems we are talking about are life as we know it. We need to define the criteria for what we think of as life much more clearly.”

    It may be that science is starting to study territory already explored by science fiction. The television series The X-Files, for example, has featured life in the form of a silicon-based parasitic spore.

    The Max Planck experiments were conducted in zero gravity conditions in Germany and on the International Space Station 200 miles above earth.

    The findings have provoked speculation that the helix could be a common structure that underpins all life, organic and nonorganic.
     
  2. rml8607
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    rml8607 Senior Member

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    fascinating
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    ...does this mean the dust in my room might try to kill me in my sleep?

    *goes off to vacuum*
     
  4. Frost
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    Frost Contributing Member

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    We will be well prepared for an invasion in any case.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Hoovers at the ready :p
     
  6. Sayso
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    Sayso Contributing Member

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    Course dust is alive. No matter how many times you remove it from the house, it just wanders back in.
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It does, you know... Twyford is the dustiest place in the UK, I swear. Mind you, now that I don't live there, I should change my location thing....
     
  8. Night Haunter
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    Night Haunter Banned

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    Well I have lved amongst dust all my live as have we all and I'm still alive.
     
  9. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...For now.

    dun dunt dun!!
     
  10. Night Haunter
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    Night Haunter Banned

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    Was that the sound of marching Dust mites lol
     
  11. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Though... in a way, a few of the religions would be correct in some aspects. We'd have come from dirt/earth, but I think a lot of dust particles come from dead skin cells. Quite a conundrum we've uncovered.

    Silly Haunter, you won't hear them until the end. :)
     
  12. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    This is actually reminding me a lot of the His Dark Materials trilogy, by Phillip Pullman...
     
  13. Night Haunter
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    Night Haunter Banned

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    Is it the end yet. I hear them. No wait No i don't its still the voice of mr thimble my right thumb. phew i thought i was going slightly mad there.
     
  14. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Nice spotting. I hadn't even thought of that.
     
  15. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    And I have no idea of what you're alluding to...
     
  16. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    You've never read the books, adamant? You realy should, they are quite good (well, the beginning of the first book is like wading through waist high mud, but it picks up reasonably quickly). Basically, a substance called "dust" features quite heavily in it.
     
  17. Night Haunter
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    Night Haunter Banned

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    Voices still calling.













    Nope all clear still Mr Thimble. phew.
     
  18. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    If your thumb is talking to you, then you could have bigger problems than an impending dust attack...
     
  19. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Thats not necessarily true. If his thumb is talking to him to distract him from an impending dust attack, well I gotta say Night Haunter is totally screwed.
     
  20. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It certainly doesn't bode well... Perhaps his mod powers will save him?
     
  21. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    He hasn't responded in 22 minutes. I think he's a goner.

    Everyone, get the dusters and vacuum cleaners, we must arm yourselves.
     
  22. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    We need plenty of dusting cloths! And hand vacuums!
     
  23. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bambi, you're shielding me if they come after the forum.
     
  24. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Hehe, better get your hoover ready, Turkelton :p
     
  25. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is that because I'm black, Bambi?
     

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