Seafloor structures are able to light an LED bulb
Electricity is best known for operating modern-day devices, but the fundamental process, which is the movement of electrons, is also one of the requirements of life.
Now, a new study demonstrates that power can be generated by naturally occurring seafloor structures known as chemical gardens which are thought to have contributed to this planet's earliest forms of life.
In fact, the team was able to draw enough energy from one to light an external LED light bulb.
The work revolves around chemical gardens which grow into shapes that resemble plant stalks but are not actually alive.
The process occurs when metal salt crystals become submerged in a thickened chemical solution.
These structures are found in nature near seafloor hydrothermal vents and are thought to demonstrate the energy-related processes needed for early life.
After the light bulb was successfully turned on by connecting four lab-grown stalks, the lead study author noted, "We're harnessing energy as the first life on Earth might have."
The next step is to test the process with different materials.
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