Astrobiologists supported by NAI have proposed a new approach to the question of life’s origin that focuses not on the chemical ‘hardware’ of life, but instead the ‘software’ or information content. Arizona State University professor Paul Davies, and NASA post-doctoral fellow Sara Walker, have presented a novel approach that could help astrobiologists determine the requirements for a living system.
“We propose that the transition from non-life to life is unique and definable,” says Davies. “We suggest that life may be characterized by its distinctive and active use of information, thus providing a roadmap to identify rigorous criteria for the emergence of life. This is in sharp contrast to a century of thought in which the transition to life has been cast as a problem of chemistry, with the goal of identifying a plausible reaction pathway from chemical mixtures to a living entity.” … (NASA)