Comments on the NAS report “The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems”

Recently, I mentioned a newly released National Academy of Sciences report about the search for extraterrestrial life. After reading the report, I have a few comments. The Executive Summary begins, appropriatetely, with a discussion of life itself and its characteristics: Reflecting the near inevitability of human missions to Mars and other locales … Continue reading

NAS Report : The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems

The National Academy of Sciences has released a report [1], entitled “The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems”. From the Preface: This report explores a limited set of hypothetical alternative chemistries of life by following a hierarchy of possibilities that have been ranked through experimental, exploratory, and theoretical work … Continue reading

Synthetic biology: there is no ‘life’

Last week in Nature, appears a peculiar editorial [1], entitled “Meanings of ‘Life’: Synthetic biology provides a welcome antidote to chronic vitalism.” It is a somewhat unsurprising coincidence that it appears almost on the same day as the Venter paper. Of interest are the following two remarkable assertions (bold added): 1) There is … Continue reading