Auf den Spuren des Lebens : Bericht zur Expedition in das Eis von Spitzbergen vom 17. Mai 1999 bis 14. September 2000
A hypothesis is set up, that sea ice on the primitive Earth 4 billions years ago could have been suitable to support the generation of life. An expedition into the ice of Spitzbergen was performed with a boat equipped with scientific instruments. The results show, that sea ice has special properties which may contribute to the development of organic macromolecules supposed to be precursors of life. Sea ice consists of small regions of nearly pure frozen H2O and of liquid brine with high salinity. The microstructure of sea ice includes flexible thin surface layers composed by hydrogen bindings, processes with energy exchange, catalytic reactions, demixing phenomena and last not least the presence of numerous vital microorganisms. The bacteria of today live successful in sea ice exactly as their ancestors at the beginning of life may have done originated out of macromolecular precursors built in the sea ice reactor.