Dust With Life Like Qualities?

Science Daily has an interesting article up concerning the lifelike qualities of some inorganics caught in a plasma field:

Until now, physicists assumed that there could be little organisation in such a cloud of particles. However, Tsytovich and his colleagues demonstrated, using a computer model of molecular dynamics, that particles in a plasma can undergo self-organization as electronic charges become separated and the plasma becomes polarized. This effect results in microscopic strands of solid particles that twist into corkscrew shapes, or helical structures. These helical strands are themselves electronically charged and are attracted to each other.
Quite bizarrely, not only do these helical strands interact in a counterintuitive way in which like can attract like, but they also undergo changes that are normally associated with biological molecules, such as DNA and proteins, say the researchers. They can, for instance, divide, or bifurcate, to form two copies of the original structure. These new structures can also interact to induce changes in their neighbours and they can even evolve into yet more structures as less stable ones break down, leaving behind only the fittest structures in the plasma.

I haven’t made up my mind about this one….

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5 Responses

  1. Makes you think, though, doesn’t it?

  2. Great! A scientific basis for wild extrapolation leading to lifeforms that could live in Stars.
    Wait a minute, it’s been done to death by SF authors already…

  3. Makes you think, though, doesn’t it?

  4. The question that immediately came to mind was, does the fact that a computer simulation generated these molecules mean that the molecules actually exist? Everything depends upon the assumptions made in constructing the model.

  5. Might make an interesting way to introduce evolution to kids (and old folk) and a good computer game. Much like the old game of Life. Unfortunately, I saw no pictures of helical dust motes floating around.

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