By David C. Catling

Astrobiology is the research of the starting place and improvement of existence in this and different planets. What fascinates humans approximately astrobiology is that it seeks solutions to long-standing unsolved questions: How quick did existence evolve in the world and why did lifestyles persist right here? Is there existence somewhere else within the sun method or past?

The examine of astrobiology has develop into extra the most important than ever in fresh many years, as biologists have came across microbes that dwell in ever extra severe settings, akin to effervescent scorching springs, in acid, or deep inside rocks. Rooted in powerful and rigorous examine, astrobiology accommodates the paintings of microbiologists, geologists, and astronomers. during this Very brief advent, David C. Catling introduces the origins of astrobiology and demonstrates its effect on present astronomical learn and power destiny discoveries.

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W. G. Wyckoff. Copyright 1949, Interscience Publishers, New York, London. result that the basic pattern corresponds to the packing in contact of a set of spheres of diameter 160 A. I t is remarkable that over 500 hr of X-ray exposure could be given this crystal without any apparent change in its crystalline structure. This has an important bearing on other results involving radiation sensitivity. The great accuracy of more usual crystal analysis by X-rays is not present here since the crystalline perfection of chemical crystals is not matched by the virus crystals.

F 06πηα V from which a can be determined. THE FRICTIONAL DRAG COEFFICIENT HYDRATED FOR NONSPHERICAL OR VIRUSES The simple case considered above is nearly always obscured by either asymmetry of the particles or by the presence of hydration. We can therefore look on the sedimentation process a little diflferently and solve the sedimentation relation for / , the frictional drag coefficient. Then o and, if we write / 0 for the case where the particle is spherical, we have SIZE, SHAPE, AND HYDRATION OF VIRUSES 33 The ratio f/f0 is thus / = T = βττηβ ^^W 1 - (2 16) · 47Γ Replacing m by the value found from combined sedimentation and diffusion, we have, because m = kTS/D(l — Vop), / _ 1 (kT\* 14*Q.

12 gm water per gram virus. I t is likely that the hydration of SBMV is less if this type of correction is made. With this figure, the sedimentation, diffusion, and viscosity data fit with a rod-shaped virus of length 2,500 Â and width SIZE, SHAPE, AND HYDRATION OF VIRUSES 51 140 Â. I t is truly remarkable that so difficult a virus to study should nevertheless be susceptible to correct characterization by these means. 30 Density FIG. 8. Buoyancy measurements by Schachman and Lauffer (1949) on TMV using two second solutes.

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