In last week’s Cosm, ‘Why existence is miracle enough’, we alluded to the idea that the Moon may have been instrumental in development of life on Earth.
Several readers enquired how this could possibly have been the case...
Ever since the first man downed the tools of labour and took to thinking, he has wrestled with one question above them all: where did we come from?
In the middle ages, European thinkers believed that small, creepy-crawly life (such as insects and mice) appeared spontaneously by a process of natural self-assembly of nonliving ingredients – maggots, they thought, formed from the decaying matter they seemed to ‘spontaneously’ appear from.
In the 19th century, Charles Darwin suggested that life might have first arisen in ‘some warm little pond’ rich in chemicals and minerals and imbued with heat and electricity.
Today, we have gone some way to recreating Darwin’s “warm little pond” in the laboratory and seen that the ‘building blocks of life’ can indeed combine in a soup of simple chemicals.
But, how did it get from life’s Lego bricks to life as we know it? One theory is that the Moon played a crucial role...