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Left: Stanley Miller with his famous electrical experiment. Credit: NASA.
Middle: Comet Hale-Bopp. Credit: E. Kolmhofer, H. Raab; Johannes-Kepler-Observatory.
Right: Frankenstein (modified image). Credit: Boris Karloff, Universal Pictures.


Frankenstein’s Comet: Sparks of Life?
Mar 09, 2010

Perhaps Dr. Frankenstein was on to something.

Dr. Frankenstein’s monster is brought back to life in James Whale’s 1931 film adaptation, with the help of a high-voltage electricity discharge passing through his cold lifeless corpse. Today, doctors use electricity to shock a stopped heart back into action too.

In 1953, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey at the University of Chicago published a paper entitled “Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions”. The pair explain how they sealed a sterile flask containing just four inorganic chemicals, water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen, and then used electrodes to create artificial lightning in the vapour.

After a week of operation, the scientists discovered that a soup of organic compounds, the building blocks of life, were created, including amino acids, sugars and lipids. Five amino acids were originally detected, but a recent reanalysis found a total of 22, the most common being glycine.

Perhaps comets best mimic the Miller-Urey experiment?

The inorganic chemicals in the Miller-Urey experiment have all been detected in comet nuclei, and just recently, so has the amino acid glycine. We know that the Miller-Urey experiment required artificial lightning to produce its amino acids, so perhaps glycine on comets is evidence of electrical activity too – no problem in an Electric Universe.

Further reading:

First Discovery Of Life's Building Block In Comet, Science Daily (August 18, 2009).

The Miller–Urey experiment (on Wikipedia)

The Electric Universe: Comet

Contributed by Ian Tresman




"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky" series.


And don't forget: "The Universe Electric"

Three ebooks in the Universe Electric series are now available. Consistently praised for easily understandable text and exquisite graphics.

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Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.
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Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.
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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.
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The opinions expressed in the Thunderbolts Picture Of the Day are those of the authors of
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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
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