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STScI Astrobiology Lecture Series

Will Alien Life Resemble Us (and How Could We Possibly Know)? Astrobiology, Evolution and the Amino Acids

Presented by: Stephen Freeland (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii)
Category: Science Colloquia   Duration: 1 hour   Broadcast date: September 03, 2010
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A fundamental challenge for astrobiology is to establish the relative contributions of chance versus predictability in the origin and evolution of life on our own planet. Thus, for example, all Earth-life creates metabolism from an interacting network of protein molecules that catalyze various biochemical reactions. Furthermore, early during evolution it had arrived at a standard set of 20 amino acid building-blocks with which to build each of these proteins. We now have good reason to think that many of these amino acids are formed in significant quantities throughout the galaxy - but so are many others - so would alien life be like us, and how could we possibly know?

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Stephen Freeland JPEG image (.jpg)
Stephens's Presentation PowerPoint (.ppt)