As I mentioned before in previous posts, the major problem with biogenesis on the planet is that there had to be some kind of forces at work that would simulate a cell and allow for cell biology to develop.
Well, it looks like life may have its origins in the mica around Greenland:
I like this idea because it really takes a big bite out of the problem with entropy. One problem with the “primordial soup ocean” hypothesis is that the primordial soup is a horribly dilute solution, and to have formation of larger molecules there is a huge barrier from entropy.
A scientist this week proposed a new answer to that most-existential of questions: “How did life begin?” According to the “soup and sandwich” hypothesis,” the compartments between layers of mica—a common, rather flaky mineral that cleaves into smooth, flat sheets—could have provided the shelter and protection needed for prehistoric molecules to organize into cells.
Hansma’s observations, while far from conclusive, do provide some interesting insights as to a possible “cache” where prebiotic molecules to organize and react.
Can some of this chemistry be reproduced in a laboratory? Possibly. The question, of course, is what is the time-frame for the reaction (minutes, hours, years?) and were the larger biological molecules already present in the mica or were they formed in those pockets?
I wonder if she’s working with any chemists on the idea…