Question The Goldilocks Zone : Liquid water and life! But is it really all that simple?!

Jul 27, 2020
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Most have heard of the "Goldilocks Zone", where a planet orbits at just the right distance from its star to allow liquid water, widely believed a requirement for the abiotic origin of carbon-based life forms. Since those with a solid knowledge of chemistry almost always accept carbon as the only primary element capable of giving rise to life, we will presume this determination as fact.

Technically, the temperature range of the Goldilocks Zone largely depends on atmospheric pressure (discounting dissolved solids). On earth's surface, this Zone is 1 C to 99 C. Below this, you have solid water, and above this you generate its gaseous state. It is not reasonable to believe that the chemistry to evolve life will behave in the way required for abiogenesis outside this range. It is the liquidity of water that makes such things happen!

However, there is likely a more narrow range for the true Goldilocks Zone due to the reactivity and moderate stability of many biochemicals. Some would say this Zone is on the low end of the scale, perhaps from ca. 15 C to 50 C. Others have suggested it may be much higher since thermophilic bacteria on earth live in very hot water, some as high as 120 C ((in water at extreme oceanic depths, which prevents boiling). It seems more likely however that such organisms had their origins at much lower temperatures, and then evolved to occupy higher temperature niches. This is almost certainly true of all extremophiles.

The lower end to any "real" Goldilocks Zone is likely to be substantially above freezing, providing sufficient energy for molecules to interact and become self-replicating. Certainly some lower limit is suggested as it seems unlikely that life would arise from lifeless chemicals in the "slow-motion" chemistry encountered at temperatures close to freezing.

So, is there a "Abiogenesis Zone" within the Goldilocks Zone where life is most likely to arise? And, aside from all the required elements found in life on earth, are there any other absolute requirements other than liquid water to allow for the origin of life, as on earth? Some would think there must be.
 
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Aug 2, 2020
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It's hard to generalize with a sample size of one. It seems likely that there is a temperature range within the Goldilocks zone where life is more likely to arise. But that just raises other questions. What other factors besides temperatures do we need to consider? What possible compensating influences have we not thought of?
 

Gringoz

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Oct 3, 2020
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Most have heard of the "Goldilocks Zone", where a planet orbits at just the right distance from its star to allow liquid water, widely believed a requirement for the abiotic origin of carbon-based life forms. Since those with a solid knowledge of chemistry almost always accept carbon as the only primary element capable of giving rise to life, we will presume this determination as fact.

Technically, the temperature range of the Goldilocks Zone largely depends on atmospheric pressure (discounting dissolved solids). On earth's surface, this Zone is 1 C to 99 C. Below this, you have solid water, and above this you generate its gaseous state. It is not reasonable to believe that the chemistry to evolve life will behave in the way required for abiogenesis outside this range. It is the liquidity of water that makes such things happen!

However, there is likely a more narrow range for the true Goldilocks Zone due to the reactivity and moderate stability of many biochemicals. Some would say this Zone is on the low end of the scale, perhaps from ca. 15 C to 50 C. Others have suggested it may be much higher since thermophilic bacteria on earth live in very hot water, some as high as 120 C ((in water at extreme oceanic depths, which prevents boiling). It seems more likely however that such organisms had their origins at much lower temperatures, and then evolved to occupy higher temperature niches. This is almost certainly true of all extremophiles.

The lower end to any "real" Goldilocks Zone is likely to be substantially above freezing, providing sufficient energy for molecules to interact and become self-replicating. Certainly some lower limit is suggested as it seems unlikely that life would arise from lifeless chemicals in the "slow-motion" chemistry encountered at temperatures close to freezing.

So, is there a "Abiogenesis Zone" within the Goldilocks Zone where life is most likely to arise? And, aside from all the required elements found in life on earth, are there any other absolute requirements other than liquid water to allow for the origin of life, as on earth? Some would think there must be.
The goldilocks zone was formed by DNA adaptations to Earths orbit from our Sun. if life is found on Europa the zone vanishes as it was never real to begin with. I fail to see why so many people DEMAND that Earth life is the gold standard for the universe
 
Aug 2, 2020
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Again, it's the sample size of one.

I write music. One of the hardest things for a composer to do is begin a piece without any restrictions. It makes it difficult to know where to begin. If I have a few limitations in place--style, length, instrumentation--it makes it a lot easier to get started (even if I go ahead and ignore these limitations later in the process).

We have the same issue when we consider the possibility of life in the universe outside of Earth. Where do we begin? What do we look for?

You are correct that there is no reason to assume that extraterrestrial life will be similar to life on Earth. But it's the only life that we know of, and with hundreds of billions of places to examine in our own galaxy, the Goldilocks zone is as good a starting point as any. We can always ignore these limitations later, and your mention of Europa is an excellent example of when we should do that.

Of course, it is easy to consider Europa since it's in our own Solar System. Finding a Europa around a different star is much more challenging and beyond our present capabilities.
 

Gringoz

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Oct 3, 2020
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Again, it's the sample size of one.

I write music. One of the hardest things for a composer to do is begin a piece without any restrictions. It makes it difficult to know where to begin. If I have a few limitations in place--style, length, instrumentation--it makes it a lot easier to get started (even if I go ahead and ignore these limitations later in the process).

We have the same issue when we consider the possibility of life in the universe outside of Earth. Where do we begin? What do we look for?

You are correct that there is no reason to assume that extraterrestrial life will be similar to life on Earth. But it's the only life that we know of, and with hundreds of billions of places to examine in our own galaxy, the Goldilocks zone is as good a starting point as any. We can always ignore these limitations later, and your mention of Europa is an excellent example of when we should do that.

Of course, it is easy to consider Europa since it's in our own Solar System. Finding a Europa around a different star is much more challenging and beyond our present capabilities.
Even with all the billions or trillions of places where Earth life could live, there is no other place with exactly the same conditions on Earth which include one moon orbiting the same distance from Earth providing the same gravitational pull with the same size sun the same distance from the planet, and even if there were it could never be found. However there should be trillions of places where life could adapt too, and in doing so a new goldilocks zone is created there. So the goldilocks zone is not a place or a temp or any of that, the goldilocks zone is the power of DNA to mutate to a new place, just as it did on the Earth long ago
 
Jul 27, 2020
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It's hard to generalize with a sample size of one.
While this is true, there is much more to any such generalizations based on that "sample size of one." It is the chemistry that defines the requirements of life's formation, a chemistry considered by almost all scientists to be equivalent throughout the universe.

Before one can consider how life might arise on earth or other planets, it is critical to understand the basic nature of the only life we know. And to do that, you have to go down to the molecular level, and have a very firm grasp of chemistry, and all the aspects of how chemicals interact, and how they might give rise to life, a process known as abiogenesis (1). Lacking this knowledge does not permit one to fully grasp the nature of the origin of life on earth, or anywhere else. Without this knowledge, it is not possible to debate the issues which might give rise to life in an appropriate environment.

With this knowledge, and the belief that chemistry works the same way everywhere in the universe, it is no longer "hard to generalize with a sample size of one".

The starting post did state: "Since those with a solid knowledge of chemistry almost always accept carbon as the only primary element capable of giving rise to life, we will presume this determination as fact."

As such, no other mentions of variable chemistries will be discussed. It is environmental factors which must play the vital role other than the required chemistry at the right temperature.

What other factors besides temperatures do we need to consider? What possible compensating influences have we not thought of?
That is the basis for the whole question of this thread : "What other factors besides temperatures do we need to consider"? Since you apparently do not know, perhaps we should wait for someone who might have something to offer upon which to base a discussion. Otherwise, this is a one way street.

If you wish to give it more consideration, read the link below. And then try to understand how life may have arisen here, and perhaps you can understand how factors other than liquid water must play a role, accepting the chemical aspect of life arising from lifeless chemicals as occurred on earth.

For instance, did a whole bunch of "membrane sacks" of biogenic polymers simply collide over and over, and give rise to life after millions of mixtures over millions of years? Or was a surface involved (like silicates), which accumulated all the chemicals to kick-start life. These are the "missing" components of abiogenesis. Perhaps someone will help us out with a rational discussion for such an approach.



1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
 

Gringoz

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Oct 3, 2020
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While this is true, there is much more to any such generalizations based on that "sample size of one." It is the chemistry that defines the requirements of life's formation, a chemistry considered by almost all scientists to be equivalent throughout the universe.

Before one can consider how life might arise on earth or other planets, it is critical to understand the basic nature of the only life we know. And to do that, you have to go down to the molecular level, and have a very firm grasp of chemistry, and all the aspects of how chemicals interact, and how they might give rise to life, a process known as abiogenesis (1). Lacking this knowledge does not permit one to fully grasp the nature of the origin of life on earth, or anywhere else. Without this knowledge, it is not possible to debate the issues which might give rise to life in an appropriate environment.

With this knowledge, and the belief that chemistry works the same way everywhere in the universe, it is no longer "hard to generalize with a sample size of one".

The starting post did state: "Since those with a solid knowledge of chemistry almost always accept carbon as the only primary element capable of giving rise to life, we will presume this determination as fact."

As such, no other mentions of variable chemistries will be discussed. It is environmental factors which must play the vital role other than the required chemistry at the right temperature.



That is the basis for the whole question of this thread : "What other factors besides temperatures do we need to consider"? Since you apparently do not know, perhaps we should wait for someone who might have something to offer upon which to base a discussion. Otherwise, this is a one way street.

If you wish to give it more consideration, read the link below. And then try to understand how life may have arisen here, and perhaps you can understand how factors other than liquid water must play a role, accepting the chemical aspect of life arising from lifeless chemicals as occurred on earth.

For instance, did a whole bunch of "membrane sacks" of biogenic polymers simply collide over and over, and give rise to life after millions of mixtures over millions of years? Or was a surface involved (like silicates), which accumulated all the chemicals to kick-start life. These are the "missing" components of abiogenesis. Perhaps someone will help us out with a rational discussion for such an approach.



1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
You need the conditions for the base of the food chain to grow and begin adaptation. All it takes is logical thinking to determine this
 
Jul 27, 2020
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You need the conditions for the base of the food chain to grow and begin adaptation. All it takes is logical thinking to determine this
The base of the food chain for abiogenesis are reduced compounds venting from the sea floor, and other places.
But this base of the food chain cannot be life forms if we are talking about the origin of life.

All it takes is logical thinking to determine this.
 

Gringoz

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Oct 3, 2020
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The base of the food chain for abiogenesis are reduced compounds venting from the sea floor, and other places.
But this base of the food chain cannot be life forms if we are talking about the origin of life.

All it takes is logical thinking to determine this.
Hydrothermal vents and abiogenesis have nothing to do with the food chain. Hydrothermal vent life is interesting because it exist APART from the general food chain and because it exist based on sulphur compounds not sunlight. Just so you know photosynthesizing plants both on land and in the water are the basis of the food chain, they do this by producing sugars from sunlight.
 
Jul 27, 2020
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Hydrothermal vents and abiogenesis have nothing to do with the food chain.
Hydrothermal vents are almost certainly responsible for the origin of life on earth via abiogenesis. The first "food chain" was organic compounds, abundant in ancient seas or life would never have begun in the first place.

The food chain you refer to is living organisms. You cannot start life by having it feed off of something that does not yet exist. The earliest "food chain" MUST have been nonliving organic compounds.

And life must have formed before photosynthesis since that is an extremely complex mechanism. It must have evolved after the first life forms arose, and probably appeared around 3.8 bya, or about 200 mys after the appearance of the first life forms.
 

Gringoz

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Oct 3, 2020
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Hydrothermal vents are almost certainly responsible for the origin of life on earth via abiogenesis. The first "food chain" was organic compounds, abundant in ancient seas or life would never have begun in the first place.

The food chain you refer to is living organisms. You cannot start life by having it feed off of something that does not yet exist. The earliest "food chain" MUST have been nonliving organic compounds.

And life must have formed before photosynthesis since that is an extremely complex mechanism. It must have evolved after the first life forms arose, and probably appeared around 3.8 bya, or about 200 mys after the appearance of the first life forms.
Again hydrothermal vents are interesting because they are not connected to the surface food chain and because photosynthesis is not achieved or needed at the vents. LOL so you believe that Darwin was TOTALLY wrong about pond scum creating the most powerful and complex code in the known universe.

Precious
 
Jul 27, 2020
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Darwin was TOTALLY wrong about pond scum creating the most powerful and complex code in the known universe.
It is unlikely that Darwin would have used such a description of the first life form.

But it certainly did not evolve from"pond scum" because enormous amounts of solar UV radiation were slamming into earth's surface at that time, destroying any attempts of life to arise at or near the surface.

Radiation would continue until photosynthesis created an ozone layer to block this intense UV. Photosynthesis arose at depths of around 100-200 feet or so, where UV light does not penetrate, but visible does. First we have crude microbes form in deeper waters, and evolve into shallower waters. Then evolves the photosynthetic reaction center, which transfers an electron from excited magnesium down a complex train of proteins, creating ATP and sugar, and giving O2 .

That is why most people in the science of abiogenesis believe life first arose in deeper waters where UV light cannot penetrate. It is deadly.

You are right however in calling it "the most powerful and complex code in the known universe." I could not have said it better myself. It appears we might be starting to see eye to eye on at least one aspect of life on earth. Its fromation by abiogenesis is up there with the Big Bang!
 
Jul 27, 2020
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In 1871 Charles Darwin wrote a now famous letter to Joseph Hooker which included some of his speculations on the spontaneous generation of life in some - warm little pond.
Darwin had no concept about the chemical nature of life and how it could possibly arise from organic chemicals. If he had, he would have mentioned DNA before proteins.

HIs speculations are clearly interesting, but in no way form "The Path" to the origin of life.

His expertise was on living things, and their evolution, not the abiotic origin of life.

We have discovered a great deal about the biochemistry of life that Darwin could never have imagined, to say nothing of the environment of the early earth, when life arose 4 bya.
 
Jul 27, 2020
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Sorry kid Darwin could never have mentioned DNA.
Precisely, which is why my post also said "Darwin had no concept about the chemical nature of life...."

That is why Darwin would not have comprehended the constraints on the origin of life from chemicals, or the impact of solar radiation, because he lacked knowledge of the complexities involved. Only an expert in biochemistry is likely to have knowledge at the level required for a rational consideration of how life arose.
 
Sep 23, 2020
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Most have heard of the "Goldilocks Zone", where a planet orbits at just the right distance from its star to allow liquid water, widely believed a requirement for the abiotic origin of carbon-based life forms. Since those with a solid knowledge of chemistry almost always accept carbon as the only primary element capable of giving rise to life, we will presume this determination as fact.

Technically, the temperature range of the Goldilocks Zone largely depends on atmospheric pressure (discounting dissolved solids). On earth's surface, this Zone is 1 C to 99 C. Below this, you have solid water, and above this you generate its gaseous state. It is not reasonable to believe that the chemistry to evolve life will behave in the way required for abiogenesis outside this range. It is the liquidity of water that makes such things happen!

However, there is likely a more narrow range for the true Goldilocks Zone due to the reactivity and moderate stability of many biochemicals. Some would say this Zone is on the low end of the scale, perhaps from ca. 15 C to 50 C. Others have suggested it may be much higher since thermophilic bacteria on earth live in very hot water, some as high as 120 C ((in water at extreme oceanic depths, which prevents boiling). It seems more likely however that such organisms had their origins at much lower temperatures, and then evolved to occupy higher temperature niches. This is almost certainly true of all extremophiles.

The lower end to any "real" Goldilocks Zone is likely to be substantially above freezing, providing sufficient energy for molecules to interact and become self-replicating. Certainly some lower limit is suggested as it seems unlikely that life would arise from lifeless chemicals in the "slow-motion" chemistry encountered at temperatures close to freezing.

So, is there a "Abiogenesis Zone" within the Goldilocks Zone where life is most likely to arise? And, aside from all the required elements found in life on earth, are there any other absolute requirements other than liquid water to allow for the origin of life, as on earth? Some would think there must be.
 
Sep 23, 2020
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Ya and what do the experts say the temperature of the water is at the bottom. Of the oceans correct me if I am wrong but under pressure water goes into vapor at a higher temp. No so can't water not freeze but get colder under pressure
 
Dec 4, 2019
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Most have heard of the "Goldilocks Zone", where a planet orbits at just the right distance from its star to allow liquid water, widely believed a requirement for the abiotic origin of carbon-based life forms. Since those with a solid knowledge of chemistry almost always accept carbon as the only primary element capable of giving rise to life, we will presume this determination as fact.

Technically, the temperature range of the Goldilocks Zone largely depends on atmospheric pressure (discounting dissolved solids). On earth's surface, this Zone is 1 C to 99 C. Below this, you have solid water, and above this you generate its gaseous state. It is not reasonable to believe that the chemistry to evolve life will behave in the way required for abiogenesis outside this range. It is the liquidity of water that makes such things happen!

However, there is likely a more narrow range for the true Goldilocks Zone due to the reactivity and moderate stability of many biochemicals. Some would say this Zone is on the low end of the scale, perhaps from ca. 15 C to 50 C. Others have suggested it may be much higher since thermophilic bacteria on earth live in very hot water, some as high as 120 C ((in water at extreme oceanic depths, which prevents boiling). It seems more likely however that such organisms had their origins at much lower temperatures, and then evolved to occupy higher temperature niches. This is almost certainly true of all extremophiles.

The lower end to any "real" Goldilocks Zone is likely to be substantially above freezing, providing sufficient energy for molecules to interact and become self-replicating. Certainly some lower limit is suggested as it seems unlikely that life would arise from lifeless chemicals in the "slow-motion" chemistry encountered at temperatures close to freezing.

So, is there an "Abiogenesis Zone" within the Goldilocks Zone where life is most likely to arise? And, aside from all the required elements found in life on earth, are there any other absolute requirements other than liquid water to allow for the origin of life, as on earth? Some would think there must be.
Taken as a given that the earth orbits in the Goldilocks zone, so does our moon! And what more barren hunk of rock can you find than that? Life obviously requires much more than having a planet orbiting exactly in the Goldilocks zone.
 
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@gsimonel : restrictions? Rather, compositional determinants. My instructor didn't invoke restrictions when he sat at the keyboard and improvised a free twelve tone fugue. He selected one generative condition: fugue - which required a theme, in this case the Bach motive B A C B\ - then he decided its topographical factor, free twelve tone.

People tend to think contractively rather than expansively.


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpv67ag-hjo&feature=youtu.be
 
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Sep 30, 2020
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Indeed, even with all the billions or trillions of spots where Earth everyday routine could experience, there is no other spot with the very same conditions on Earth which incorporate one moon circling a similar good ways from Earth furnishing a similar gravitational draw with a similar size sun a similar good ways from the planet, and regardless of whether there were it would never be found. Anyway there ought to be trillions of spots where life could adjust as well, and in doing so another goldilocks zone is made there. So the goldilocks zone isn't a spot or a temp or any of that, the goldilocks zone is the intensity of DNA to transform to another spot, similarly as it did on the Earth quite a while in the past
 
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Jul 27, 2020
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Anyway there ought to be trillions of spots where life could adjust as well, and in doing so another goldilocks zone is made there.
"Another Goldilocks Zone", suggesting there are many ways for the 'chemistry of life to adapt' does not follow fundamental chemical principles.

Chemistry acts in only one way - it does not have alternative options. Aside from aspects such as temperature and concentrations, etc, the reactions of chemicals are determined by their innate properties, and cannot "adapt" to the environment they are in. Any Goldilocks Zone will have to conform to those chemical "requirements", not the other way around.

So the goldilocks zone isn't a spot or a temp or any of that, the goldilocks zone is the intensity of DNA to transform to another spot, similarly as it did on the Earth quite a while in the past
This concept does not consider the view of most who study abiogenesis. They believe that RNA came before DNA, and that is suggested by RNA mechanisms which exist in modern life, such as ribozymes and tRNAs. To get a better idea how that works, try reviewing the Wiki link below.



Despite the disagreements, your post is well received. Thank you!
 
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Mar 4, 2020
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The Goldilocks Zone theory is very conditional. As is all of astronomy. It assumes the life on a planet needs external energy.

If life came from time(evolution), or if life were natural, we would have seen such. As tenacious as it is, and for the time it has had.....it would be thru-out the cosmos. But the fact is.......life is the only singularity that has ever been detected.

Eons of time and a large variety of environments.........has failed to produce it. You may add a "so far", if it keeps your hope up.

What if we have it backwards? Instead of mass and matter and time creating life, what if life created mass and matter and time?
 

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