III. A Revolutionary Organic Habitable UniVerse
H. An Astrochemistry to Astrobiological Fertility
Yamagishi, Akihiko, et al. Astrobiology: From the Origins of Life to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Singapore: Springer, 2019. The Japanese astroscientist editors, posted at the University of Toyko, Tohoku University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, achieve a comprehensive volume for this field with 31 chapters from Prebiotic Complex Organic Molecules in Space to An RNA World, Eukaryotes and Photosynthesis, Formation of Planetary Systems, and onto the Evolution of Intelligence on Earth and Cosmolinguistics: The Emergence of Language-Like Communication on a Habitable Planet (Abstract below).
The emergence of human language is one of the biggest wonders in the universe. In this chapter, I define "a language-like communication system" and examine the components for the emergence of such a system, not only on Earth but in any habitable planet. Language is a way to transmit an infinite variety of meanings by combining a finite number of tokens based on a set of rules. Thus, it enables compositional semantics. At least three components are necessary: segmentation of context and behavior, the association between them, and the honesty of the emitted signals. I also discuss the possibility of "language as it could be" on other planets. (Cosmolinguistics, Kazuo Okanoya)
Yamamoto, Satoshi. Introduction to Astrochemistry: Chemical Evolution from Interstellar Clouds to Star and Planet Formation.. International: Springer, 2017. A University of Tokyo biophysicist provides a later 2010s comprehensive technical survey from Molecular Abundances and Diffuse Clouds to Star and Planet Forming Regions.
This important book describes the basic principles of astrochemistry — an interdisciplinary field combining astronomy, physics, and chemistry — with particular emphasis on its physical and chemical background. Chemical processes in diffuse clouds, dense quiescent molecular clouds, star-forming regions, and protoplanetary disks are discussed, along with molecular spectroscopy and observational techniques. These contents provide astronomers with a comprehensive understanding of how interstellar matter is evolved and brought into stars and planets, which is ultimately related to the origin of the solar system.
Ziurys, Lucy, et al. Prebiotic Chemical Evolution in the Astrophysical Context. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. Online April, 2015. University of Arizona astrochemists post a paper presented earlier at ORIGINS 2014 in Nara, Japan which offers further proof of how innately primed cosmic physical substance must be to generate and evolve into increasingly complex biochemical precursors.
Conclusions: Millimeter wavelength astronomical observations are clearly demonstrating that gas-phase molecular material is far more common in the Galaxy than previously thought. Interstellar molecules are increasingly found in significant abundances under harsh environmental conditions. For example, polyatomic species such as H2CO, HCN, and C3H2 are present in planetary nebulae, contained in dense, self-shielding clumps that then seed the diffuse ISM. Molecular material is therefore “recycled” in the ISM, suggesting that chemical timescales could be as long as the lifetime of the Galaxy. Therefore, greater chemical complexity can be achieved than previously thought, perhaps leading to even more complex prebiotic or even biological compounds that could significantly influence the beginning of life on a planet such as the Earth.