People have been looking towards the sky for as long as they have been on the Earth. It seems only natural that civilizations would begin to wonder if life on Earth is the only life in the universe. Understanding what makes life on Earth is the first step to examining the possibility of life elsewhere.
What is Life?
Trying to define life is difficult. There is no clear-cut, basic definition of what life is. It is easier to identify the properties of life and decide whether or not something falls into the life or nonlife category based on if it includes these properties. The six properties of life are order, reproduction, growth and development, energy utilization, homeostasis, and evolutionary adaptation.
Order is “an energy-requiring process which must be maintained for life to continue” that consists of partitioning “resources and nutrients within their systems” (The origin and evolution of life on earth, 2003). Reproduction is the idea that life comes from life; living organisms are able to reproduce (Bennett, 2012, p. 507). Growth and development is the idea that organisms develop a pattern of characteristics for their species determined in part through heredity (The origin and evolution, 2003). Energy utilization means that living organisms take in energy and “transform it to do work” (The origin and evolution, 2003). Homeostasis is a process by which living organisms regulate their internal environment based on external changes and factors (The origin and evolution, 2003).
Evolutionary Adaptation and Natural Selection
Evolutionary adaption is the property that explains the incredible diversity found in all the Earth’s organisms. This property works through natural selection to ensure the best traits of a species a...
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NASA's Kepler Discovers First Earth-Size Planet In The 'Habitable Zone' of Another Star. (2014, April 17). Retrieved from NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star/#.U1Xi_OZdWdA
Natural selection. (n.d.). Retrieved from Understanding evolution: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_25
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