Working Definition of Life

Working Definition of Life - Working Definition of Life...

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Working Definition of Life With the understanding that an universally, agreed-upon definition of life does not exist, we can at least come up with a working definition to guide current research. One working definition from Gerald Joyce that guides NASA's research in astrobiology is "life is a self-contained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution". Another similar definition from Max Coleman at NASA/JPL states "Life is a self-organized system capable of processing energy sources to its advantage." The focus on chemical systems and chemical energy rules out computer programs and robots or other electronic entities and it is more easily measurable. The first definition includes evolution because of the primacy of evolution in modern biology but it is very difficult (at best) to measure evolution in the time length of a typical space mission or grant. The second working definition focuses on the characteristics that can be easily measured quickly. Coleman notes that life usually processes energy at a different rate than its surrounding
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Working Definition of Life - Working Definition of Life...

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