Book The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems pdf


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Book The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems pdf

Book The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems pdf

Pages 117

Committee on the Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems
Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Board on Life Sciences
Division on Earth and Life Studies

The search for signs of life, present or past, is an important goal of NASA’s robotic solar system exploration programs and, ultimately, for its astronomical programs designed to probe the gross characteristics of extrasolar planetary systems. To date, that search has been governed by a model of life that is based on the life that we know on Earth—terran life. Several features of terran life have attracted particular focus:
• Terran life uses water as a solvent;
• It is built from cells and exploits a metabolism that focuses on the carbonyl group (C «  O);
• It is thermodynamically dissipative, exploiting chemical-energy gradients; and
• It exploits a two-biopolymer architecture that uses nucleic acids to perform most genetic functions and proteins
to perform most catalytic functions.

The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems


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