Cardiff Center for Astrobiology

Lisvane, United Kingdom

Cardiff Center for Astrobiology

Lisvane, United Kingdom
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Gibson C.H.,University of California at San Diego | Schild R.E.,Center for Astrophysics | Wickramasinghe N.C.,Cardiff Center for Astrobiology
International Journal of Astrobiology | Year: 2011

The origin of life and the origin of the Universe are among the most important problems of science and they might be inextricably linked. Hydro-gravitational-dynamics cosmology predicts hydrogen-helium gas planets in clumps as the dark matter of galaxies, with millions of planets per star. This unexpected prediction is supported by quasar microlensing of a galaxy and a flood of new data from space telescopes. Supernovae from stellar over-accretion of planets produce the chemicals (C, N, O, P, etc.) and abundant liquid-water domains required for first life and the means for wide scattering of life prototypes. Life originated following the plasma-to-gas transition between 2 and 20 Myr after the big bang, while planetary core oceans were between critical and freezing temperatures, and interchanges of material between planets constituted essentially a cosmological primordial soup. Images from optical, radio and infrared space telescopes suggest life on Earth was neither first nor inevitable. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.


Wickramasinghe N.C.,Cardiff Center for Astrobiology | Wallis J.H.,Cardiff Center for Astrobiology | Gibson C.H.,University of California at San Diego | Schild R.E.,Center for Astrophysics
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2010

We explore the conditions prevailing in primordial planets in the framework of the HGD cosmologies as discussed by Gibson and Schild. The initial stages of condensation of planet-mass gas clouds is set at 300,000 yr (0.3My) following the onset of plasma instabilities when ambient temperatures were >1000K. Eventual collapse of the cloud into a solid structure, dominated by water-ice and organics takes place against the background of an expanding universe with declining ambient temperatures. Isothermal free fall collapse occurs initially via quasi equilibrium polytropes until opacity sets in due to molecule and dust formation. The contracting cooling cloud is a venue for molecule formation and the sequential condensation of solid particles, starting from mineral grains at high temperatures to ice particles at lower temperatures, Water-ice becomes thermodynamically stable between 7 and 15 My after the initial onset of collapse, and contraction to form a solid icy core begins shortly thereafter. The icy planet core, which includes a fraction of radioactive nuclides, 26Al and 60Fe, melts through interior heating. We show, using heat conduction calculations, that the interior domains remain liquid for tens of My for 300km and 1000km objects, but not for 30 or 50km objects. Initially planets are separated by relatively short distances, measured in tens to hundreds of AU, because of the high density of the early universe. Thus exchanges of materials, organic molecules and evolving templates could readily occur providing optimal conditions for an initial origin of life. The condensation of solid molecular hydrogen as an extended outer crust takes place much later in the collapse history of the protoplanet. When the object has shrunk to several times the radius of Jupiter, the hydrogen partial pressure exceeds the saturation vapour pressure of solid hydrogen at the ambient temperature and condensation occurs. © 2010 Copyright SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.


Di Gregorio B.,Cardiff Center for Astrobiology
Chemical Engineer | Year: 2010

NASA will launch the $2.3b Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) in October 2011 that will reach the surface of Mars in Q2 2012. The aim of MSL is to find traces of the organic carbon compounds left behind by extant or extinct life or delivered by carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. MSL will carry Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), a sophisticated organic analysis system. SAM will carry a subsystem called the chemical separation and processing laboratory (CSPL), that contain a one-step derivatization technique using N-methyl-N-(tert- butyldimethylsilyl)-trifluoroacetamide (MTBSTFA), a silylating agent, and simultaneous dimethylformamide (DMF) solvent extraction. Experimental results on Earth with Mars analogue soils from the Atacama Desert in Peru showed that thermochemolysis MTBSTFA can detect 10100 times more organic compounds than by using traditional inert gas chromatography/mass spectrometry pyrolysis.

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