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Spreading Life in the Universe

  1. Feb 9, 2010 #1
    Hi All

    Following this Physorg article... http://www.physorg.com/news184915200.html" [Broken] ...here's the webpage of the Professor's Directed Panspermia Society...
    "[URL [Broken]
    Society for Life in Space (SOLIS)[/URL]

    ...in which he describes a program for propagating microbes throughout the Galaxy, as a near-term way of spreading our kind of Life far and wide. Altruistic in the extreme?

    Makes me wonder just how much of a role panspermia has had in our Solar System too. Is our Last Universal Common Ancestor from somewhere other than Planet Earth? Did Life begin here and spread wherever it could in the early Solar System? According to the current best guesses there were four probably reachable habitats - wet early Venus, early Earth, warm early Mars and warm early Titan. Titan slowly froze, Mars lost its thicker atmosphere, and Venus lost its oceans - only Earth remained within Life's ability to 'govern', though the Great Oxidation event almost froze it solid, the Sulfate era almost choked it and various other catastrophes have threatened Life here from time to time.

    Life wasn't meant to be easy!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2010 #2


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    Spreading life via nanobots is feasible. Encode the DNA of lifeforms deemed desirable to propogate and shotgun them into the void. A self replicating nanobot would be theoretically capable of executing the program in a favorable environment. On the downside, radiation in deep space could 'sterilize' the nanobots during the milleniums necessary to reach a favorable environment.
  4. Feb 10, 2010 #3
    As I noted in response to a similar claim you made elsewhere, such nanobots aren't the correct context for DNA to develop properly from - unless they produce a lot more than just DNA strings. In principle whole cells can be produced by nanobots from their data, but I do wonder if just sending the natural 'nanobots' - bacterial spores and the like - is actually more effective. Consider the hardy organisms that can survive direct space exposure - tardigrades, lichen and so on - and we might already have some good candidates for panspermic 'nanobots'. Why duplicate, probably poorly, what Nature provides?
  5. Feb 10, 2010 #4
    This seems like a waste of time and resources. The microbes mentioned would only develop into a full blown ecosystem if the conditions on the planet they arrived at were perfect. And, chances are that if such a planet did have the perfect conditions for life, life would probably already be developing there.

    The irony with this scheme, is that you would need to send the oldest, most simple organisms possible to another planet because without a flourishing ecosystem, a planet cannot just sustain fully advanced life forms, even complex bacteria. So, by the time the very, very simple microbes arrived, if the planet already had a fully developed ecology, the effort would be wasted seeing as life is already there, and if the planet was still in the 'primordial soup' stage, any life forms you sent there would either die off straight away because it would be too hostile to support them, or would already be full of developing organisms and the ones you sent there would be no greta improvement.

    Well, that wasn't at all physics related, but it was fun.
  6. Feb 10, 2010 #5
    I'm unconvinced that a mini ecosystem couldn't be packed into a panspermic spore. There's such a range of adaptability for many organisms and "perfect conditions" are really rather broad. As for "waste", there's an awful lot that humans do which is "waste" - what would you eliminate and divert resources to, once made Supreme Dictator of the Worthwhile & Useful? And what would you do with the inevitable opposition?
  7. Feb 12, 2010 #6
    I think if rare earth hypothesis ends up being correct. Then it is up to us to plant the seeds of life wherever it may take hold. I think this is our destiny, we have little time really we should be on our way to the nearest stars already.

    Thank you for the information and the links I will be following this.
  8. Feb 13, 2010 #7
    Freeman Dyson talks a lot about this. Like Europa and the Oort cloud. If there isnt life there, he wants to put it there. To add diversity to the universe.
  9. Feb 13, 2010 #8
    Even in our own solar system, we have moons that if they were in closer might spring up life. Titan, europa, encilidus, and who knows what waits for us in the oort cloud. If we could manipulate the moons orbit to somehow slingshot them in closer that would rock. Imagine titan as a second moon... think of all the resources in methane. LOL imagine if all that methane could explode what a big bang that would be.
  10. Feb 13, 2010 #9
    Yes, we could essentially be designing not only life, but solar systems, maybe galaxies, etc..

    Dyson talks about this too. It could be like an art form. Who could create the most beautiful life, worlds, and systems? That would be the the future's "art".

    -Thomas Wright

    Do we have Biophilia?

    It seems like we like to plant life, nourish it, watch it grow... We love the diversity of life. The more the better. We are excited to find a new species on this planet, and we are saddened when we lose a species on this planet. We love to add to the diversity of life and try to stop anything that threatens that diversity.
  11. Feb 13, 2010 #10
    One big cosmic fart joke? Nah. Those the atmosphere of Titan and some farts show a lot of similarity in composition - N2 & CH4 - but you can't light a mix with no oxidiser. Incidentally methane itself doesn't stink - it's the H2S, hydrogen sulfide. Rotten egg gas.

    But seriously moving the planets around isn't a bad idea, just rather laborious. A multi-billennial project I suspect, though Paul Birch has discussed ways of moving the terrestrial planets in just decades. In Greg Benford's "Beyond Infinity", set a billion years in the future, the Solar System has been radically remade, with a terraformed Saturn in orbit around the glowing remains of a merged Neptune/Jupiter. That's one option. Of course there's the disastrous version in Larry Niven's "World Out of Time" in which the Sun has been tampered with, the Earth is orbitting Jupiter and broiling hot, and Uranus has been remade as a gigantic fusion rocket. Milan Cirkovic, with Richard Cathcart, has pondered the possibility of geoengineering going horribly wrong almost regularly, thus explaining the Fermi Paradox...
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