3 years ago

Percolation clusters of organics in interstellar ice grains as the incubators of life.

Saibal Mitra

Biomolecules can be synthesized in interstellar ice grains subject to UV radiation. Here I consider the processes in such ice grains from the perspective of getting to the machinery of life. I show that the large dose of UV radiation per molecule over sufficiently long time scales leads to the creation of large percolation clusters of organic molecules. The cluster will have a large network of pores traversing its entire length, which eventually collapses into small local networks (chambers).

During the formation of the solar system, some of these clusters would end up in proto-planets. The chambers of the cluster provided for micro-environments that are filtered versions of the outside environment, with the deeper chambers getting a more filtered environment. Periodic heating and chemical potential differences between chambers can drive processes involving systems of biomolecules replicating themselves.

The micro-environmental differences between chambers being small, allows such systems to get easily adapted to new higher level chambers, allowing them to eventually get adapted to the outside environment as it moves toward the outer regions of the cluster. Small clusters will likely be present inside such a system playing the role of reaction chambers. Such a system contained in a lipid membrane would be fully fledged microbe. A collision of a microbe containing proto-planet with the Moon could have led to chunks veering off back into space, microbes in small fragments can survive a subsequent impact with Earth.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.01945

DOI: arXiv:1711.01945v1

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