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13 Nov
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Stability and its manifestation in the chemical and biological worlds

Bridging between the phenomenologically distinct biological and physical worlds has been a major scientific challenge since Boltzmann's probabilistic formulation of the second law of thermodynamics. In this review we summarize our recent theoretical attempts to bridge that divide through analysis of the thermodynamic-kinetic interplay in chemical processes and the manner in which that interplay impacts on material stability. Key findings are that the term ‘stability’ manifests two facets – time and energy – and that stability's time facet, expressed as persistence, is more general than its energy facet.

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13 Nov
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Astrobiology from early-career scientists' perspective

What is astrobiology? Which fields does it comprise and what makes an astrobiologist? Ask five scientists and you may end up with six different definitions. This issue was raised at the first symposium of the European network of Astrobiology Graduates (AbGradE), held last year in Edinburgh, when discussing whether the attendees' fields of study were represented in the astrobiology community.

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13 Nov
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Case study of chondrule alteration with IR spectroscopy in NWA 2086 CV3 meteorite

Case study of chondrule alteration with IR spectroscopy in NWA 2086 CV3 meteorite

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13 Nov
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Alteration processes in the CV chondrite parent body based on analysis of NWA 2086 meteorite

Analysis of the NWA 2086 CV3 chondrite showed a matrix/chondrule ratio of 52%, similar to Bali, Mokoia, and Grosanaja. Nearly twice as many chondrule fragments as intact ones demonstrate that an early fragmentation phase occurred prior to final accretion. After this event, no substantial mechanical change or redeposition is evident. Rims with double-layered structures were identified around some chondrules, which, in at least one case, is attributed to an accretionary origin. The rim's outer parts with a diffuse appearance were formed by in situ

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13 Nov
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Searching for springtime zonal liquid interfacial water on Mars

We analyzed the spatial and temporal characteristics of the surface temperature at the northern water ice annulus on Mars that is left behind the receding seasonal carbon dioxide cap in springtime. Using OMEGA hyperspectral images we show that water ice without carbon dioxide ice coverage lasts for 10–30 days between 55° and 70°N. The longest water ice coverage without CO2 ice is observed between 40–55°N and 300–330°E and lasts 80–110 days in ideal case. Using TES temperature data, we show that thin interfacial liquid water may be present at the water ice annulus.

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13 Nov
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Near-ultraviolet bluing after space weathering of silicates and meteorites

Asteroid surface space weathering has been investigated both observationally and experimentally, mostly focusing on the effects on the visible–near infrared (VNIR, 0.4–2.5 μm) spectral range. Here we present laboratory near-ultraviolet (NUV, 200–400 nm) reflectance spectra of ion irradiated (30–400 keV) silicates and meteorites as a simulation of solar wind ion irradiation. These results show that the induced alteration can reproduce the spread observed in the VNIR vs. NUV slope diagram for S-type asteroids. In particular, the well-known spectral reddening effect induced in the VNIR range is accompanied by

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13 Nov
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Chasing the Origin of Viruses: Capsid-Forming Genes as a Life-Saving Preadaptation within a Community of Early Replicators

Virus capsids mediate the transfer of viral genetic information from one cell to another, thus the origin of the first viruses arguably coincides with the origin of the viral capsid. Capsid genes are evolutionarily ancient and their emergence potentially predated even the origin of first free-living cells. But does the origin of the capsid coincide with the origin of viruses, or is it possible that capsid-like functionalities emerged before the appearance of true viral entities? We set to investigate this question by using a computational simulator

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13 Nov
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Morphological adaptations of 3.22 Ga-old tufted microbial mats to Archean coastal habitats (Moodies Group, Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa)

Microbial life was well established and widespread by the Paleoarchean; however, the degree of evolutionary advancement such as microbial motility, intra- and inter-species interactions, phototropism, or oxygenic photosynthesis by that time remains highly debated. The 3.22 Ga Moodies Group in the Barberton Greenstone Belt (BGB, South Africa) are Earth's oldest well-preserved siliciclastic tidal deposits. They exhibit a unique assemblage of microbial mats, providing an excellent opportunity to decipher the morphological adaptations of microbial communities to different paleoenvironmental settings.

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13 Nov
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Host’s stars and habitability - I. Impact of stellar parameters

With more than 1500 detected and confirmed exoplanets within a large range of dierent configurations of size, mass, chemical composition and distance from their host’s star, the probability to find a planet that look like the Earth increases every year. While it is clear that being in the habitable zone did not imply being habitable, “life” indeed requires strong favourable conditions, a systematic study of the evolution of the habitable zone is required to account for its dependence upon stellar parameters.

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13 Nov
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The systems perspective at the crossroads between chemistry and biology.

During the last century a number of authors pointed to the inherently systemic and dynamic nature of the living, yet their message was largely ignored by the mainstream of the scientific community. Tibor Ganti was one of those early pioneers, proposing a theoretical framework to understand the living principles in terms of chemical transformation cycles and their coupling. The turn of the century then brought with it a novel 'systems' paradigm, which shined light on all that previous work and carried many implications for the way we conceive of chemical and biological complexity today. In this article tribute is paid to some of those seminal contributions, highlighting the importance of adopting a systems view in present chemistry, particularly if plausible mechanisms of chemical evolution toward the first living entities want to be unraveled.

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CSO Approval date: 14/11/2013
Starting date: 15/05/2014
Ending date: 14/05/2018

Action Chair:
Dr. Muriel GARGAUD (FR)

Vice chair:
Prof. Wolf GEPPERT (SE)

STSM Manager:
Prof. Nigel MASON (UK)

Web Manager:
Prof. Elias CHATZITHEODORIDIS (GR)

Secretary:
Dr. Zuzana KANUCHOVA

 

Grant Holder Financial Representative:

Mrs Annick Caperan

Science Officer:
Dr. Mafalda QUINTAS

Administrative Officer:
Ms Aranzazu SANCHEZ

 

ORIGINS TD1308

A Trans-Domain Action supported by COST.

COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

 

 

Involved countries

View the Interactive Map
of Member Countries

Participating Countries
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

COST International Partner Countries
Canada (UQAM), South Africa (Univ. of Johanesburgh), Russian Federation (Institute of Geology, Petrozavodsk), Australia (University of Sydney), United States of America (University of Hawai)

Specific Organisations
European Space Agency (ESA)

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

Aiming at fostering collaboration, sharing new techniques, and infrastructure that may not be available in other participants' institutions or laboratories. STSMs are intended especially for young PhD researchers, but they are open to senior researchers as well. View the documents at this link.

 It should be explicitely noted that Master students are not eligible for STSMs which are for PhD students and more experienced researchers.

The life-Origins COST Project


Life-ORIGINS (TD1308) is a Trans Domain European COST Action dedicated to the scientific investigation of the origins and evolution of life on Earth and habitability of other planets.

The Action has specifically excluded the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life in its portfolio. Creationist theorems are also outside the Action’s remit.

Individuals are not allowed to use the name of the Action, its logo or any corporate identity of COST TD1308 in any communication without prior approval of the Management Committee.

All publications referencing the support of the Action should be sent to the appropriate Working Group chair at the time of submission.