How Did Earth Get Its Phosphorus?

first_imgThe element phosphorus is hard to get to a planet’s surface where it is needed.Phosphorus, abbreviated P with atomic number 15, is an essential element in all living organisms. How do organisms use phosphorus?Phosphorus is an essential element in nucleic acids (DNA, RNA).The energy molecule ATP has three phosphate groups. A cell spends enormous effort recycling ATP.Phosphorylation is an important regulatory step in many cell processes.Cell membranes are composed of phospholipids.Bones and tooth enamel get their hardness from hydroxyapatite, a phosphorus-containing mineral.Phosphorus is taken up by plants from the soil. Its availability can be a limiting factor in ecosystems.Lack of phosphorus can cause malnutrition.“Oxidative phosphorylation” builds ATP in cells. A chain of complex molecular machines in mitochondria and chloroplasts sets up a proton gradient by carefully extracting electrons from the digestion of our food and passing them through a sequence of reactions (the citric acid cycle), with oxygen as the final acceptor in the electron transport chain. The resulting proton gradient then powers ATP synthase, a rotary engine, that uses the energy to “snap” phosphate groups onto ADP in three reaction centers (see animation by CMI). The ATP molecules can then be sent throughout the cell to power numerous enzymatic reactions that require the energy, such as the walking kinesins that carry cargo, and the numerous enzymes that operate on DNA in the nucleus.For all its value to life, phosphorus can also be toxic. Some of the most potent neurotoxins and pesticides contain phosphorus.Molecular machines at work in a living cell (Illustra Media)A highly reactive atom, phosphorus is never found in its elemental form on earth. Its elemental abundance is one gram per kilogram in Earth’s crust, about 16 times as plentiful as copper. On our planet, most of it is found in insoluble rocks. Phosphate mines have much of the element from the decomposed remains of living organisms.It would be hard to imagine a habitable planet without phosphorus, because most astrobiologists recognize the uniqueness of nucleic acids, ATP and phospholipids for cells. So this poses a question: how did Earth become blessed with so much of this element?Planetary Sources of PhosphorusAn article on NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine purports to tell us “How Phosphorus Came In from the Cold.” Below the pretentious headline of this just-so story, we begin to see problems: “phosphorus is rare” in interplanetary dust clouds. “It is even more scarce in the rest of the Solar System,” Sarah Wild writes. “Phosphorus is one of the key elements in biology,” says Matthew Pasek, an astrobiologist and geochemist at the University of South Florida.Unlike the other elements essential for life, phosphorus is mainly found in solid form, whereas the likes of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are often found as a gas. “[Studying phosphorus] keeps us grounded in actual hard rock samples. Unlike the others, there is no obvious gas form, so has to come from rock sources,” Pasek says. “We hope to tie that eventually to biology and life.”Some meteorites contain phosphorus. The problem, then, is how to get those rocks to Earth in sufficient quantities to season the crust with it. Secular cosmologists believe that all the elements beyond lithium (atomic number 3) were “cooked” by supernovae. Phosphorus, therefore, had to come from a supernova, then get incorporated into interstellar dust clouds, from which they believe planetary systems were made. Pasek worries, though, in his recent paper in Icarus, that “Phosphorus would not have been present as a volatile throughout much of the Solar nebula.”Through a convoluted series of steps, Pasek brings phosphorus in from the cold outer reaches of the solar system by suggesting that it existed in a rare gaseous form called phosphine (PH3) in the cold outer reaches of the Solar System beyond Saturn. (Out to Saturn, it would have been locked up in solids.) From there, Pasek has the problem of getting that phosphide gas to Earth. Also, meteorites from those far reaches could have brought phosphorus to Earth in the form of phosphides. How they could have been distributed equally on the early earth was not addressed.One critic of Pasek’s model says that it is “contentious that gas movement toward the Sun, which was not modeled in the paper, could be faster than the diffusion of gas away from the Sun.” It would seem that the latter would predominate.This is an ongoing problem for astrobiologists, in other words. But it’s fun to get paid for thinking about problems that may not have a naturalistic solution. “The work was supported through NASA’s Emerging Worlds Program,” the article ends. “NASA Astrobiology provides resources for this and other Research and Analysis programs within the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) that solicit proposals relevant to astrobiology research.” NASA money, of course, is taxpayer money.Maybe we need to add another zone to our list of habitable zones: the “Phosphorus Availability Zone.” But this is only a problem for materialists. The Creator tells us in His word that He “made the world to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). Obviously he put the ingredients required for life where they were needed, in the abundances required.See more about habitability requirements in Dr Henry Richter’s book, Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers, chapter one.For earlier articles on phosphorus and biology, see:Most exoplanets are not habitable (26 June 2018)Why astrobiologists hammer planets (26 Sept 2016)Fooling around with OOL (31 May 2010).Invent animals: Just add phosphorus (11 June 2007)or search on “phosphorus” in the search bar. (Visited 490 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

How To Find the Right Subject for Your Documentary

first_imgIt’s not easy to find the right subject for your documentary. Nonetheless, there are a few qualities you can look for in subjects to ensure they’ll be great.Top image: Chef’s Table via NetflixTo find a story worth telling (and a story worth spending copious amounts of time, money, and energy on in every stage of production), ask yourself these questions about your potential documentary subject.Are they challenging what is the norm?Image: O.J.: Made in America via ESPNIf your subject is challenging the norm, it’s typically a great sign that they will encounter trials, conflicts, and unexpected turns throughout the filming process. Also, if they’re challenging societal norms, this will give them something to work towards and a goal to accomplish. If they have a goal to accomplish, this will make crafting a natural three-act structure in the edit much more feasible.Can they progress?Image: Jim Jarmusch and Iggy Pop promoting Gimme Danger via Associated PressIt took me a year to find the subject for my last documentary. The reason I had such a tough time finding the right subject was that when I started, I was only researching and talking to multiple world champions in their field. I just couldn’t see where their story may go because they had already achieved the pinnacle of their craft. I just kept asking myself where could they go from here?After months of not being able to answer that question, I finally decided to start looking at more people who were just starting in their field. Granted, the more experienced subjects will be great supporting characters, but I just couldn’t envision where the film could go with them as the main characters.Once I stopped talking to world champions, and started talking to people who were starting out and challenging the status quo, that’s when I finally realized that we had a story.What will they overcome and what have they overcome?One of my favorite documentary series right now is Chef’s Table. It’s such a fascinating exploration of character for documentary filmmaking. Most of the chefs they feature on the show had overcome something drastic — something that helped them achieve the success that they’re currently enjoying. The narrative arc for each episode is typically structured around a trial they overcame in the past.When researching or interviewing subjects for a documentary film, don’t be afraid to ask them what big trials they overcame to reach the point they are now.Are they likable and relatable?Image: Ron Howard promoting The Beatles: Eight Days a Week via Press AssociationEveryone wants to root for the underdog. There’s just something about the “can do, against all odds” attitude of an underdog that makes people cheer them on. Ask yourself if your subjects have personality traits that appeal to a broad audience. If so, this will keep your audience entertained and rooting for your character throughout the entire piece.These are just a few of the qualifiers I use to find subjects for my documentary films. Tell us in the comments below how you select subjects for your films.last_img read more

No let up in J&K militant attacks

first_imgMilitant attacks saw no let up in Kashmir despite the Centre’s ceasefire in place for the past 17 days, with four grenade attacks leaving six persons injured on Friday. However, there is an 80% dip in security forces-civilian confrontation in the first two weeks, according to the police data.Compared to the incidents of law and order in the last two weeks of March and April, May witnessed significant dip of 80%. “South Kashmir would witness at least two confrontations per day prior to the halting of operations for the month of Ramzan. It has come down to one to two confrontations a week,” suggest the police data.Militants, who attacked the security forces with grenades more than eight times since May 16, injured four CRPF personnel, a policeman and a civilian in a grenade attack on Friday afternoon.“A joint party of the CRPF’s 140 Battalion and the police in Khanabal was attacked with a grenade, in which five sustained splinter injuries,” said the police.A CRPF vehicle and a Peoples Democratic Party MLA, Mushtaq Shah, were attacked with grenades in two separate incidents in Pulwama. A CRPF official said militants lobbed a grenade at a bunker at Hari Singh High Street. “The grenade exploded away from the target and no injuries were reported,” said the officials.2 protesters injuredTwo protesters were hit by a CRPF vehicle near the historic Jamia Masjid after Friday prayers.A police official said the two protesters were hit by a security forces vehicle when it came “under heavy stone pelting near the mosque.” “The condition of one of the injured is critical,” said hospital officials. Youth hurled stones at the security forces after Friday prayers.last_img read more

Rajasthan BJP receives a jolt with exit of Sagir Khan, its Muslim face

first_imgThe BJP has received a jolt in Rajasthan with the exit of its prominent Muslim face and former Dholpur MLA Abdul Sagir Khan, who launched a scathing attack on the party’s top leadership while resigning from its primary membership. About 30 office-bearers of BJP’s district unit also quit the party along with Mr. Khan.Mr. Khan, who joined the Congress at the party’s election meeting at Munshi Trilok Chand Mathur Stadium in Karauli on Monday, was elected to the State Assembly on the BJP ticket in 2008. He also served as chairperson of the Rajasthan Waqf Development Councilduring the previous BJP regime.Mr. Khan was considered close to former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, as he was politically active in the region where she was married in the erstwhile royal family. The Karauli-Dholpur Lok Sabha constituency, reserved for Scheduled Castes, comprises eight Assembly segments of the two districts, where BJP won only one seat, while Congress won six and BSP won one in the 2018 election.Gehlot welcomes KhanChief Minister Ashok Gehlot garlanded Mr. Khan while welcoming him to the Congress fold in the election meeting organised in support of the party’s candidate, Sanjay Kumar Jatav. Mr. Khan alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had “hijacked” the party and brought it to a predicament in which senior leaders were being ignored.The inordinate delay in the announcement of the candidate’s name for the Dausa Lok Sabha seat has also raised credibility issues about the BJP in the State. After much procrastination, the BJP fielded former Union Minister of State Jaskaur Meena on Sunday as a “compromise candidate” to resolve the tussle between senior leaders Kirori Lal Meena and Om Prakash Hudla.Mr. Meena was claiming ticket for his wife Golma Devi, while Mr. Hudla, who had defeated Ms. Golma Devi in Mahuwa in the 2013 State Assembly election, was seeking the party’s candidature for himself with the active support of Ms. Raje.last_img read more

Congress bypoll pact with Left Front in Bengal gets Sonia nod

first_imgCongress interim president Sonia Gandhi has given her nod to a Congress-Left Front alliance in West Bengal for the upcoming Assembly bypolls in the State, following the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha election, top party sources said on Saturday.Ms. Gandhi held a meeting with West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra in Delhi on Friday night and discussed various organisational issues, including the upcoming Assembly bypolls in the State, the sources said.“We informed Ms. Gandhi about the seat adjustment we are having with the Left Front for the upcoming bypolls. She told us if the Left Front agrees, then both the parties should go for an alliance,” Mr. Mitra said.Seat adjustmentThe seat adjustment decision was taken by the Congress State leadership when the party had no president after the resignation of Rahul Gandhi from the post. The nod was given by Ms. Gandhi, who was chosen as the party’s interim president earlier this month. Congress sources said Ms. Gandhi’s nod to the alliance is politically significant given the Trinamool Congress’ recent call for uniting of all opposition forces in Bengal in a bid to stop the march of the BJP in the State. “It is quite clear that Ms. Gandhi, despite sharing good relations with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, has chosen the Left for forging an alliance. One of the reasons is that in the 2021 Assembly polls, the fight will be against the TMC government. So just in the name of opposing the BJP, we can’t align with it [TMC],” a senior Congress leader. The West Bengal Congress and the CPI(M) leaderships had recently sealed a seat adjustment for the upcoming bypolls in three Assembly seats in West Bengal.The State leaderships of the two parties have decided that Congress will contest the Kaliaganj seat in North Dinajpur district and Kharagpur in West Midnapore district, while the CPI(M)-led Left Front will contest the Karimpur seat in Nadia district.The Kaliaganj seat fell vacant after the death of sitting Congress MLA Parmathanath Roy, while the election to the Kharagpur seat is being held as its MLA Dilip Ghosh, the State BJP chief, contested and won the Medinipur Lok Sabha constituency. Karimpur MLA Mahua Moitra of TMC had won the Krishnnanagar Lok Sabha seat.last_img read more