Life Could Exist in Amazing Hypothetical Form

Life Could Exist in Amazing Hypothetical Form

Life Could Exist in Amazing Hypothetical Form

Earth is the only known planet that can harbor life. Generally, it is claimed that the conditions conducive to life are found here alone. However, it is quite possible that extraterrestrial life may be alien to us in the truest sense. The life on exoplanets may have different forms, which thrives in conditions that are entirely inhospitable to life on Earth. Some of these hypothetical forms of life are discussed below.

Dusty Plasma Life Forms

Dusty Plasma Life Forms - Hypothetical Form

In 2007, an international team documented conditions under which dust could mimic organic life. This research was performed at the General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Science. Computer simulations were used to show that dust particles existing as plasma can form helical structures. This is quite similar to what happens to DNA under the influence of electromagnetic forces within the plasma itself. And just like DNA, they can divide and replicate themselves.

The observations essentially covered a special form of plasma crystal. Despite that, it should be borne in mind that clouds are capable of self-replication too. This crystal could, however, form the basis of a hypothetical form of life. If such life exists, it would be the most common type in the universe due to the abundance of plasma and dust clouds within it.

Von Neumann Probes

Von Neumann Probes - Hypothetical Form

In the mid-20th-century, John Von Neumann, a Hungarian mathematician and futurist, conceived of machines that could replicate themselves. Other futurist thinkers like Freeman Dyson and Eric Drexler spoke about the potential benefits of this possibility. They claimed that this hypothetical form of life can be used for space exploration. These machines were called the Von Neumann probes.

These probes could possibly mine moons for extracting materials that could mass-produce the variations of these machines. In this way, our entire galaxy could be explored in just a million years. As the process of replication was to be controlled by probes, it is hard to predict what variations would be necessary. This uncertainty could become a threat to all other life forms in the universe. Roughly speaking, their mode of life would not be that different from that of viruses.


iCHELLS - Hypothetical Form

Professor Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow is attempting to create living metal to bring technology alive. The basis for this hypothetical form of life are chains of metal atoms linked to oxygen and phosphorus. These are called Polyoxometalates and can form cell-like bubbles. Cronin named these bubbles inorganic-chemical-cells (iCHELLs).

The research team has been successful in making the bubbles semi-permeable like the outer membranes of biological cells. Similarly, they have made bubbles within bubbles, mimicking the internal structure. Progress has also been made towards the creation of an artificial form of photosynthesis. This may form the basis of synthetic plant life.

Until now, iCHELLs are technically not alive because they have no system for replication and evolution. Cronin is said to be hopeful that continued development will show the way.

Gaia Hypothesis

Gaia Hypothesis

In 1975, Drs. James Lovelock and Sidney Epton stated that the sum of living things on Earth functions like a super-organism ensuring its own survival. Biotic activities help maintain the temperature and composition of the atmosphere. Initially, Earth had an atmosphere dominated by carbon dioxide but plants developed and converted it to oxygen. They claimed that the temperature of the Sun has increased by 30% over the last 3.5 billion years. On the other hand, the temperature of Earth remained stable because the solar energy was locked away in fossils.

Lovelock called this hypothetical form of life “Gaia” after the Greek Earth goddess. His ideas were originally dismissed but they have influenced our thinking over the years. They are now widely regarded as a positive cultural framework from which scientific studies can be pursued.

Weak Nuclear Force and Gravitational Life

Weak Nuclear Force and Gravitational Life

Life on Earth derives energy from the Sun through electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental forces. These are the forces that can explain every interaction in the universe. In 1979, Robert Freitas Jr. conceived of hypothetical forms of life with metabolisms governed by other forces.

He proposed that nanoscopic beings could possess metabolisms driven by the weak nuclear force. They would derive energy from the manipulation of interactions between subatomic particles. They could be composed of atoms with excessive neutrons and would become radioactive upon their deaths.

He also referred to the possibility that their strong force cousins might exist within neutron stars. They would be built from “super nuclei” that could mimic organic molecules. Colossal gravitational life-forms may also exist by harnessing energy from collisions between massive celestial objects. Smaller ones could derive it from the movement of planets and the smallest will get assistance from waterfalls, ocean currents, or even earthquakes.

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