ABUNDANCE OF ORGANIC MATTER IN THE UNIVERSE Life is a natural phase in the development of matter— the highest form of its evolution inevitably arising when the necessary prerequisites are present. Insofar we know, cosmic inorganic matter is chemically homo geneous throughout the investigated part of the infinite universe. It is organized into celestial bodies and their systems in a definite recurring order. As the organic and the inorganic substances represent two forms of matter which are essentially the same, it may be said that the living organisms throughout the universe are possibly composed of the same chemical elements as the terrestrial living organisms, i. e., of protein substances and are everywhere morphologically similar to those on Earth.
Since the universe is infinite and external, it follows inevitably from the above that some traces of organic life should exist everywhere in the universe. Possibly, these traces of life in the universe should be the rule rather than the exception owing to the "ubiquity of life," to quote the inspired expression of V. I. Vernadskii. Philosophically, the task of searching for traces of the organic phase in the development of cosmic matter is therefore justified wherever and whenever possible.
It is quite evident that adequate development of direct (rocket) explora tion of our cosmic environs is prerequisite to any direct contact with extra terrestrial organic life, and primarily with Mars, where the presence of life has been suspected for a long time. Meanwhile, we can only base our discussions on observations from the Earth recorded by the classical techniques of optical astronomy. Spectrum analysis is the most efficient method of optical astrophysics. However, for the detection in the universe of some complex molecule, and particularly a protein molecule, the possi bilities of spectrum analysis are naturally limited. Thus, if we refer to the radiation spectrum, any complex molecule will be dissociated before any thermal radiation will be apparent. In "cold" high-frequency fields it was possible to excite radiation spectra of complex organic molecules.
In order to produce a measurable absorption spectrum, the optical density of the corresponding substance must be fairly large. It is evident from the above that spectroscopic detection of complex polyatomic molecules that might be in the universe— even in great numbers— is impossible at present.
In addition to inorganic molecules and relatively simple carbonic molecules, the decomposition products of highly organized proteins simul taneously provide the initial chemical raw material for further natural organic synthesis.
In general, the simplest organic molecules are thermally considerably more stable than the more complex organic molecules. Therefore, their spectroscopic detection may be relatively easier, At present, astrospectroscopy actually reveals organic matter in the universe consisting of the simplest carbonic molecules, but fails to detect more complex organic compounds. These findings may be interpreted as an indirect indication of the possible existence of complex organic compounds but cannot be taken as proof of their nonexistence.
Let us consider an analogy with the detection of microscopic inorganic cosmic dust by absorption. Although absorption of the larger solid particles and small bodies is not detected, the astrophysicists have no doubt of their existence (and even abundance) in interplanetary space. Thus, it seems that in both cases we are able to detect only one, well-defined part of the spectrum.
Astronomical observations have demonstrated that the universe is abundant in the simplest organic compounds. This abundance, and possibly even profusion, is of utmost importance for the natural sciences, and of profound philosophical significance. It is regrettable that the relevant astrochemical findings have, until recently, been put aside, essentially without having been generalized. The presence in the universe of organic substances is of utmost scientific importance.