Finding the Origin Of Life
1×60 min. documentary, National Geographic Channel
As far as we know, life is unique to Earth. So how did it come to be? And why here? We’ve all wondered about the origins of life, but one scientist in San Diego believes that he and his mentor found the answer. Dr. Jeffrey Bada at UC San Diego, sheds new light on renowned scientist Stanley Miller’s controversial experiment from a half century ago. Like Miller, Bada recreates conditions on Earth before life began 4 billion years ago. But this time, Bada introduces 21st century technology that Miller could only dream of. While cameras roll, the San Diego scientist mixes up a batch of “primordial ooze,” then, similar to the mythical Dr. Frankenstein, zaps it with a bolt of electricity—“primordial lightning.” The results? Amino acids, the building blocks of all life. It was this stunning experiment that first demonstrated that life could have evolved spontaneously from a combination of chemical processes present on early Earth. Still, how could these amino acids evolve to become bacteria, animals, and eventually humans? How did life start reproducing itself from something that isn’t alive?