Author Topic: DNA Survives Outer Space, Reentry Into Earth's Atmosphere  (Read 1991 times)

Offline stromboli

DNA Survives Outer Space, Reentry Into Earth's Atmosphere
« on: November 27, 2014, 11:20:00 AM »
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141126144150.htm

Quote
The genetic material DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into Earth's atmosphere -- and still pass on genetic information. A team of scientists from UZH obtained these astonishing results during an experiment on the TEXUS-49 research rocket mission.

Applied to the outer shell of the payload section of a rocket using pipettes, small, double-stranded DNA molecules flew into space from Earth and back again. After the launch, space flight, re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and landing, the so-called plasmid DNA molecules were still found on all the application points on the rocket from the TEXUS-49 mission. And this was not the only surprise: For the most part, the DNA salvaged was even still able to transfer genetic information to bacterial and connective tissue cells. "This study provides experimental evidence that the DNA's genetic information is essentially capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space and the re-entry into Earth's dense atmosphere," says study head Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy.

Spontaneous second mission
The experiment called DARE (DNA atmospheric re-entry experiment) resulted from a spontaneous idea: UZH scientists Dr. Cora Thiel and Professor Ullrich were conducting experiments on the TEXUS-49 mission to study the role of gravity in the regulation of gene expression in human cells using remote-controlled hardware inside the rocket's payload. During the mission preparations, they began to wonder whether the outer structure of the rocket might also be suitable for stability tests on so-called biosignatures. "Biosignatures are molecules that can prove the existence of past or present extraterrestrial life," explains Dr. Thiel. And so the two UZH researchers launched a small second mission at the European rocket station Esrange in Kiruna, north of the Arctic Circle.
DNA survives the most extreme conditions
The quickly conceived additional experiment was originally supposed to be a pretest to check the stability of biomarkers during spaceflight and re-entry into the atmosphere. Dr. Thiel did not expect the results it produced: "We were completely surprised to find so much intact and functionally active DNA." The study reveals that genetic information from the DNA can essentially withstand the most extreme conditions.

Various scientists believe that DNA could certainly reach us from outer space as Earth is not insulated: in extraterrestrial material made of dust and meteorites, for instance, around 100 tons of which hits our planet every day.
This extraordinary stability of DNA under space conditions also needs to be factored into the interpretion of results in the search for extraterrestrial life: "The results show that it is by no means unlikely that, despite all the safety precautions, space ships could also carry terrestrial DNA to their landing site. We need to have this under control in the search for extraterrestrial life," points out Ullrich.

Which brings up some interesting possibilities. Not only panspermia but also that life of a similar nature exists elsewhere in the universe. If that is so, then the potential for finding earth like planets with similar life structures becomes much greater, raising the possibility of colonization of planets.   

Online Mr.Obvious

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Re: DNA Survives Outer Space, Reentry Into Earth's Atmosphere
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2014, 06:07:38 PM »
I remember seeing this kind of thing on cosmos, the one with Neil Degrasse Tyson. Fascinating stuff.
But because of the vast potential of DNA and the enormous variety of life-forms it can produce, I'm not sure if it increases the chances of us finding a planet that could 'naturally' be inhabitable by us. So I don't know if it really raises the possibility of us colonizing planets.
Unless I'm missing something here  :think:
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Re: DNA Survives Outer Space, Reentry Into Earth's Atmosphere
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2014, 08:41:52 PM »
I remember seeing this kind of thing on cosmos, the one with Neil Degrasse Tyson. Fascinating stuff.
But because of the vast potential of DNA and the enormous variety of life-forms it can produce, I'm not sure if it increases the chances of us finding a planet that could 'naturally' be inhabitable by us. So I don't know if it really raises the possibility of us colonizing planets.
Unless I'm missing something here  :think:

I saw that on COSMOS as well except they were talking about extremophiles. Organisms (small) that can live in open space. That's even stranger than DNA being able to survive space IMO.

I'm not sure how this relates to finding inhabitable planets? Wouldn't that involve terraforming or are you thinking that if DNA could survive being ejected into space (say through a meteor impact ejecting material into space) that this could lead to some sort of self terraforming? 

Here is the lovely little tardigrade from COSMOS:
Carl Sagan
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Offline stromboli

Re: DNA Survives Outer Space, Reentry Into Earth's Atmosphere
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2014, 08:53:39 PM »
We certainly don't know the breadth and scope of what DNA can ultimately bring into existence, but a carbon based life from would have some, if not a lot, of similarities with earthly life. Unless there is a whole set of physical laws and potential life forms we haven't uncovered- which is certainly possible- I think there would be recognizable characteristics, if only at the atomic level. Just my opinion.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: DNA Survives Outer Space, Reentry Into Earth's Atmosphere
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2014, 12:20:00 PM »
Fuck! The space monsters are coming then now that they know they can.. They have wireless internet in space now..
All hail my new signature!

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Offline dtq123

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Re: DNA Survives Outer Space, Reentry Into Earth's Atmosphere
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2014, 12:53:26 PM »
can I haz aleen frend now?
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