Special Issue "The Physico-Chemical Limits of Life"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2016) | Viewed by 30770
Interests: life in estreme environments; limits of life; the origin and evolution of life on Earth; astrobiology and the search for life elsewhere
2. Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Interests: astrobiology; detection of life; limits of life; origin of life; nature of aging; anti-aging medicine; computational chemistry; science commercialization; biotechnology financing; venture capital
The vast majority of life on Earth lives at between 0.75 and 5 bar pressure and –5 oC and 30 oC temperature. However, we know that life can flourish substantially outside these limits. Recent decades have shown that life in the deep ocean, in hydrothermal systems or in crustal rocks may play a substantial role in the chemistry of Earth’s biosphere, and the discovery of a bewildering variety of planets around other stars suggest environments very different from Earth’s where we might nevertheless look for life. They have also shown that the abundant chemical and energy resources of the surface are not essential for life, and that cells with doubling times may in future decades grow in regions previously considered incapable of supporting metabolism. Our knowledge on the limits of life on Earth continues to expand as we explore more remote and seemingly inhospitable environments using advanced technologies. Laboratory experiments and theoretical studies hint that life could be based on molecular structures substantially different from those we know. So what are the physico–chemical limits of the environments in which any life, not just common terrestrial life, can flourish? This Special Issue explores these questions with the aim of increasing our knowledge about the fundamental nature of living beings (known or yet to be discovered by science), and also launches a new Section of Life—Life: Hypotheses in the Life Sciences. Life: HyLS will focus on new ideas, hypotheses and theoretical approaches to problems in the life sciences, starting with the question: What are the physico–chemical limits of life? The answers will inform where we search for life on Earth and elsewhere, but also synthetic attempts to build new life with useful capabilities.
Prof. Dr. John A. Baross
Dr. William Bains
Manuscript Submission Information
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- alternative biochemistry
- artificial life
- biological energy quantum
- synthetic biology
- macromolecular structure