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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Astrochemical Heritage: Couriers, Chondrites, and Constructal


Constructal Theory.

Couriers are Mexican American business people crossing the border with mementos from both sides of the Mexican American huge border. You can read in Spanish an article here.

Chondrites are time and space messengers. They bring information from 4566.6 ± 1.0 Ma .

Paola Caselli and Cecilia Ceccarelli are two Italian scientists who recently wrote a review about Our Astrochemical Heritage.  I find some interesting links between these three spacetime correlations.

I believe in the existence of correlations which we have not completely disentangled yet. Almost to the point of appearing magical. In this note I record some.

The heritage Caselli & Ceccarelli are talking about, is what is stored in, among other things, meteorites, and comets. Obviously we are all made of stardust, and thus the heritage is even more intimate. Chondrites are primitive:

A specimen of the NWA 869 chondrite (type L4-6), showing chondrules and metal flakes

This may look like an ordinary rock, but it got to Earth from outer space. If you know how to read the message recorded on it, you see millions of years of slow and, seemingly purposeful processes. Chondrules are actual millenarian structures, as if they were alive millions of years ago little wormlike structures were formed.

"Prominent among the components present in chondrites are the enigmatic chondrules, millimeter-sized objects that originated as freely floating, molten or partially molten droplets in space; most chondrules are rich in the silicate minerals olivine andpyroxene."

This is fascinating; I explain.

There was no life as we know it, but some constructal principle was obviously in force. Professor Adrian Bejan discovered something he calls Constructal Theory. He says that matter flows in such a way, that flow is easier next time around. Here we have a principle in space and time, that tells us, that there is a next time around, i.e., there is permanence, I will say, Nature tries to occupy bigger and bigger volumes of spacetime.

Caselli & Ceccarelli discovered regions in space with anomalous chemical composition, mainly isotope distributions different than in the surrounding volume. These are called hot Corinos. Gas and dust lowers the temperature in these regions, by blocking heat from coming in, at low temperatures, on the surface a dust particles, chemical reactions occur producing the separation, the anomalous isotope distribution. That is our Astrochemical Heritage. We see complexity, coming spontaneously, out of the inorganic world. Those are our origins.

Now let me jump a few million years; look at another boundary, the thousand kilometer border between Mexico and the United States. As you can read in Why Nations Fail, by Acemoglu and Robinson, that border separates countries that have developed very differently. According to these authors, one difference is the political way people organize. In Mexico 98% of crimes are not  solved, according to Javier Sicilia. In the US the record is better. Inclusive Institutions vs. Extractive Institutions. 

The couriers of the article that appeared today in the Mexico City newspaper, La Jornada, which I link above, are businessmen crossing the border to communicate communities, which are not allowed free passage through the border. The links within the communities go way back, maybe fifteen thousand years. The book by Dr. David E. Hayes-Bautista, "El Cinco de Mayo", records that in 1962 Californios fought in two anti-imperialist wars at the same time. The American Civil War, against the slave owners of the South, and the Mexican French war, against the Empire of Napoleon III. These two communities, Mexicans in Los Angeles, and Mexicans in Puebla, are actually the same community. Both cities have the same name: Puebla de los Angeles, one chose Puebla, and the other Los Angeles, but they have a common heritage. 

To bring these two apparent disparate ideas together I use professor Bejan's ideas:

Once the first Americans walked all through the continent coming from Asia, they made a path, which they have been walking time and time again. This happened after the last glaciation. They did not need visas then, and do not need visas now.

Caselli & Ceccarelli are telling us that differentiation started before life appeared in the Universe. Once deuterium and other heavy isotopes were separated, they became our heritage, we are the product, of our separation, and our coming together, because after all we are all Cosmic dust. 

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