If you look closely at snails in the garden, you may notice a strange phenomenon in which most snail shells rotate in one direction, and sometimes you may find that a snail shell rotates in the opposite direction, but this exception is extremely rare. This kind of structural mirror is a phenomenon called “hand” or “bias spiral”. In the molecules we can find that, like a snail shell, the molecule rotates in one direction or the other, which is called the “hand”feature.
The map is the Crab Nebula, which is thought to be the region of the origin of cosmic rays. Two scientists have recently come up with a possible explanation that life is shaped by powerful forces from outer space and is closely linked to space radiation!
Natural amino acids are part of proteins that are almost all left-handed, or “left-handed”, while the natural sugars that make up RNA and DNA are almost all right-handed, or “right-handed.” This is important, and if you replace any one of the molecules with another form, the whole system will collapse.
People think “hand” may be a necessary condition for life to appear, but we don’t know how it was first formed and why? Scientists have recently come up with a possible explanation that life is shaped by powerful forces from outer space and is closely linked to space radiation!
More specifically, it is related to the bombardment of the Earth’s atmosphere by cosmic rays, which radiate in the form of high-energy particles, such as nuclei and protons, which are surging in the Milky Way at near-speed of light.
“We think that the partial characteristics of life on Earth are related to the evolution of magnetically polarized radiation, and that a subtle mutation in radiation that leads to life based on DNA may promote the evolution of life based on DNA, rather than its mirrorimage,” said Noble Globus, a visiting professor at Stanford University’s Kevili Institute of Astrophysical Particles and Cosmology. “
Pictured are left-handed and right-handed amino acid molecules.
Cosmic radiation, like other forms of radiation, increases the rate of cell mutations in organisms, and on Earth we are protected by the atmosphere and magnetic fields, which is why when astronauts go into space, we increase the risk of cancer.
The Earth’s magnetic field deflects a large amount of cosmic radiation, and the substance, which does not deflect, decays into elementary particles when it enters the atmosphere, and when these particles reach the ground, most cosmic radiation can only exist in the form of mesons.
The mesons last longer than many elementary particles, averaging 2.2 microseconds, because they move at near-speed of light, can move quickly a few hundred meters underground, and then decay into electrons, mesons and decay-forming electrons, which are polarized in the same direction.
This has little impact on current life forms, but researchers say early life is much more vulnerable than it is today when it comes to self-replicating molecules. These early molecules looked more like those made in the lab – two hand-based features were balanced in number, but the constant magnetically polarized mesons could cause a very small but very long-lasting hand bias.
Over time, over a long period of time, after billions of generations of life, this effect may first break through in one hand form, then dominate, and the rest of the other form is less and less.
Roger Blandford, a theoretical astrophysicist at Stanford University, said: “It’s kind of like a Las Vegas gambling roulette, and some people might be more interested in the red roulette area than the black roulette area.” For casino players with years of experience, they found that those who used to bet on the red roulette zone made money, while those who gambled on the black roulette zone were more likely to lose. “
Scientists can’t look back billions of years to analyze biomolecular evolution at the time, but we can tell whether hand features are justified in many ways, such as: we can soak bacteria in magnetically polarized radiation and measure mutation rates. This experiment can tell us whether polarization really causes hand bias.
If so, it means that the significant homonym of life is not unique to Earth, because cosmic rays are ubiquitous throughout the universe, and then this homonym may also exist in other extraterrestrial life.