Could There Be Billion Year Old Entities?
June 5, 2010 15 Comments
When life on Earth started to evolve? Just 4 billion years ago! Considering the case for trillions of planets and 15 billion years of cosmic evolution, there may be the planets which were formed 10 billion years ago from now. Life on Earth started to evolve 4 billion years ago, but it was just a microbial life. Get to the real point, when intelligence evolved on Earth? According to Darwinists intelligence arrived just 5million years ago and first civilization was established 10,000 years ago.
Now consider the case for planet which was formed 10 billion years ago: Just add 5 billion years for emergence of intelligent life and next six billion years for advancing their science and technology. My old friend Rick Philips of The Heavy Stuff Blog has some speculations about such entities, so I’m not going to talk much about their culture and about their advanced science. If you are interested in such billion year old entities you can try to hit his article.
Here I’ll discuss the possibilities for origin of life in early universe filled of darkness and uncertainity.
In these last years a large amount of experimental information on the nature and physiology of living cells has become available. The genomes of many species have been sequenced, the structures of many cellular biomolecules have been analyzed using advanced physical methods, and the networks of interactions between biomolecules in the living cell have been identified. There is now an abundance of data which indicates that the emergence of the living phase of the matter in the cell is related to the onset of a particular phase of condensed matter. Integral to life, of course, is energy. It is energy which gives matter the dynamic qualities we associate with life.
The unity of the fundamental aspects of the living phase of matter in spite of the large biodiversity is becoming increasingly clear. Living matter is comprised of and formed by 23 of 92 atomic elements. These selected elements are assembled in a finite set of selected essential biological macromolecules and what can be described as nano-machines. The onset of a macroscopic dynamical phase of coherent biochemical reactions and the interaction with the surroundings leads from the non-living to living phase transition. Thus we know that the simplest form of life has a genome, genes, and requires substantial energy to perform the functions associated with the genome and the requirements of life.
The classical physical laws are clearly insufficient for understanding the living state of condensed matter made of many competing phases with characteristic multiscale phase separation and coherent dynamics over a wide time scale. Several authors have proposed that quantum effects should play a key role for the emergence of life. If all possibilities are probable, with the least likely canceling each other out, then the probability of life, such as in the framework of the “many worlds” hypothesis and the multiverse, would necessarily lead to life. Others, in rejecting a Big Bang origin of the universe, have proposed that in an infinite universe and given an infinite amount of time with an infinite number of possible chance combinations, that all the essential elements necessary for the creation of the first self-replicating organism would eventually combine giving rise to life.
So what life demands to grow up, is energy. Is It Possible to Stimulate Life By Dark Energy?
Related to the concept of life is energy. Energy is required for the cell to function, to repair itself, to replicate, and to pass on information. In this work we would like to propose that dark energy could be of relevance in an unknown way for the emergence of life in our universe. In fact some of the recent estimates for the emergence of life in the universe is correlated with the onset of the dominance of dark energy.
Image in the left is plot of the hypothetical emergence of life in the actual time scale of the Universe, with temperature versus time, elapsing after the Big Bang. The quantitative measure of the time elapsed from Big Bang to today has been an object of scientific debate for years. There is now a growing scientific consensus that the age of the Universe is around 13.69 ± 0.13 Gyr (from 13.82 to 13.56 billion years ago), and this is based on Cepheids as the fundamental principal of extragalactic distances, and with distance believed to be directly related to time.
In the standard Big Bang model of our Universe, which has been accepted by general consensus, following thecreation the Universe underwent an accelerated stage of expansion: the inflationary era in a short stage (10-34 sec). Two successive stages of deccelerated expansion followed inflation: the radiation dominated, followed by the matter dominated eras. The consensus of opinion is that 74% of the universe consists of dark energy, 22% dark matter, and 0.005% radiation.
[Image Detail: The cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature (solid line and filled dots) as a function of time in the Universe and the hydrogen gas temperature (empty squares) with the discontinuities (arrows) for the formation of stars followed by supernova explosions. Light purple filled dot indicates the age from which the dark energy begins to be important in the evolution of the universe while dark purple filled the age where dark-energy models imply different expansion rate. Green filled dots indicate the appearance on Earth of thermophile and cyanobacteria respectively.]
The onset of the dominance dark energy began around 4-5 Gyr after the creation of the Universe. Possibly, the measured cosmic acceleration could arise from the repulsive gravity of dark energy related with the quantum energy of the vacuum.
The cosmic microwave background radiation provides a further indication about the temperature of the Universe as it is today versus what it must have been following the Big Bang. Therefore it is possible to make scientific estimates as to the evolution of the temperature of the Universe.
It is thought that as matter cooled, it underwent phase transitions, which triggered or allowed the condensed matter in the Universe to undergo and form multiple complex phases. The non-living to living matter transition is related to these transitions that occur in a temperature range from a maximum of about 390 K, and a minimum temperature of about 240 K.
Now many speculations suggest that life necessarily couldn’t be based upon carbon water combo. It could be based upon methane, ammonia, silicon or even sulpher based. According to various models, these first stars were the seeds for later stars such that by 10 to 12 billion years ago, the universe was bright with stars many of which also underwent supernova, spreading the seeds not just for additional stars, but for life. In fact, there is now a growing body of evidence suggesting that the first proto-genes and the first forms of proto-life may have been fashioned around 10 billion years ago, or within a few billion years thereafter. It has been proposed life on Earth may have been encased in meteors, asteroids, and broken planets ejected from a “parent” solar system during the red giant phase of the central star’s death, which was then followed by supernova. This life containing debris fell to Earth and became part of this planet.
The emergence of complex cellular life in the Earth could have been produced early in the history of this planet when the water temperature on Earth was around 320 K and the Universe age was 9.8 ± 0.43 Gyrs. It is now well established that a variety of complex single celled microbes, including archae and thermophile bacteria, can thrive and reproduce at extremely high temperatures, dying (or forming spores) only as temperatures approach 394 K. Does this mean that hyperthermophiles were created during these high temperatures? Not necessarily. However, what it tells us is that similar forms of life could have also been fashioned, perhaps from proto-cells during the early phases of this universe, such as during phase transitions involving rapid temperature changes. Thus it is possible that life has had multiple genesis events.
What has life to do with extreme heat? Heat is a source of energy. Energy not only can be transformed into matter, but living matter requires energy. A primary source of energy is the sun. In the history of the universe innumerable stars have lived and died, undergoing supernova and spreading the necessary life-sustaining and life-creating elements, including carbon, throughout the cosmos.
However, another source of energy which permeates the universe is “dark energy.” Dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy which is believed to permeate the entire universe and to contribute to its expansion. Dark energy is believed therefore, to contribute to the dynamic nature of this universe, preventing matter from clumping together, and filling all of empty space. The existence of a dark and unclustered energy component responsible for more than 70 % of the overall density of our universe is supported by the latest cosmological data. The consensus of opinion is that the onset of the dark energy phase took place around 4.4 ± 0.2 Gyrs and this has been accompanied by an epoch of universe acceleration starting at 6.9 ± 0.2 Gyrs after the Big Bang. Again, this is well within the range of time that many are now estimating that life or proto-life may have first began to form in this universe, i.e. around 10 billion years ago.
This association raises the question of whether an increase of dark energy in the universe at that time could have an influence on the emergence of life. Dark energy is related to the whole universe and can affect multiscale phenomena ranging from microscale to nanoscale, so why not life? Dark energy permeates the vacuum of space. Therefore it is possible that the quantum vacuum energy of scalar particles could imply a novel interaction like for the Casimir effect.
Similar to the energy involved in a Casimir effect experiments, the order of magnitude of dark energy has been estimated to be of few meV. The biological interactions in the cell, biomembrane potentials, protein-protein interactions and many other biological relevant processes have reaction energies in the 20 meV energy range. Nevertheless, there is a growing consensus that life did not begin on Earth, that life may be widespread throughout the cosmos, and that life, or at least proto-life, may have had its onset billions of years before the formation of this planetand possibly 4 billion or more years after the Big Bang. Therefore, it is imperative that we ask what unique conditions may have prevailed during this time and how might these conditions have contributed to the origin or multiple origins of life? In conclusion, first, the proximity between the time onset of the emergence of life and the time onset of the dominance of dark energy in our Universe and the rapid phase of star formation and supernova, and second, the similar interaction energy scale supports the hypothesis that dark energy, coupled with the nuclear synthesis of all the necessary elements for life, may have played an unknown but significant role in the origin and stability of living biological systems and may have contributed to the origins of life.
Doesn’t life seem more probable after all? It is more probable that there may be the billion year old entities equipped with miraculous advanced technology and such civilization is crawling in the universe, somewhere in the darkness of universe.
[Ref: Based on the research of Nicola Poccia, Alessandro Ricci, Antonio Bianconi Ph.D. ,Department of Physics, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy]