Art and literature provide graphic images of the creation of life where a single spark of energy is the main stimulus.

In Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein, the creature, assembled from miscellaneous human parts is given life by lightning. Well, actually the electricity part was added in James Whale’s 1931 film. Shelley actually was a bit vague about the process. Most of us only remember the film and those sparks of electricity giving life.

The Creation of Adam (Below) is a fresco painting by Italian artist Michelangelo, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, painted between 1508–1512. The finger of God touches the finger of Adam. The spark of creation. Was there a spark of creation? Is life an inevitable process of the development of a planet; something that just happens as atoms swirl around in contact with each other? Or, was there some specific stimulus that catalyzed the swirling atoms to live?

Here are a few thoughts on the question.

First, what about the “soup mix” hypothesis. “To understand the origins of life, many scientists try to explain how amino acids, the raw materials from which proteins and all cellular life, were formed. The best-known proposal originated in the late 1800s as scientists speculated that life might have begun in a “warm little pond”: A soup of chemicals, energized by lightning, heat, and other energy sources, that could mix together in concentrated amounts to form organic molecules. (Hatfield, 2023)

Second, could the energy from solar flares be our stimulus? “A series of chemical experiments show how solar particles, colliding with gases in Earth’s early atmosphere, can form amino acids and carboxylic acids, the basic building blocks of proteins and organic life… solar “superflares – powerful eruptions we only see once every 100 years or so today – would have erupted once every 3-10 days {during the early era of the solar system}. These superflares launch near-light speed particles that would regularly collide with our atmosphere, kickstarting chemical reactions.” (Hatfield, 2023)

Third, what about cosmic rays? Cosmic rays are tiny particles moving at nearly the speed of light from the depths of space that bombard the Earth constantly. They can even pass through us without significant damage. In space, beyond our atmosphere, they can produce flashes of light in the eye. (Pettit, 2012) Cosmic rays can be observed in the spark chambers developed to bring the brief passage of cosmic rays into our visible range. Might cosmic rays in some way be the stimulus of life? Question: If they can pass through us would a cosmic ray have enough energy to be a significant stimulus? There is a possibility. The “Amaterasu particle, one of highest-energy cosmic rays ever detected, is coming from an apparently empty region of space… and has an energy exceeding 240 exa-electron volts (EeV), millions of times more than particles produced in the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful accelerator ever built, and equivalent to the energy of a golf ball traveling at 95mph. It comes only second to the Oh-My-God particle, another ultra-high-energy cosmic ray that came in at 320 EeV, detected in 1991.” (Devlin, 2023) So, given that cosmic rays of high power occur, abet rarely, could some of these events be the spark of life? Some studies suggest the possibility – Atkinson, 2020; Kubuta, 2020.

So, there are a number of possible sources for the spark of life. Quick review.

Maybe, cosmic rays?

Maybe, solar flares?

Maybe, lightning?

Maybe, God?

References

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About Author

Deepy (Deepthinker Oh) is an educational psychologist with a long standing love of journalism and previous experience as the editor of MANIERA magazine. Deepthinker Oh's use of the SLBN logo does not constitute approval by or a representation or endorsement from Linden Lab.

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