Searching For Alien Life[Part-I] : Designing Organic Explorer
September 25, 2010 2 Comments
We probably already have the technology to find evidence of extraterrestrial life and to even send out evidence of our own. Given the room for a hard thinktank exercise, it only becomes just wishful thinking to contact aliens. But really the case is similar? Seti dictators are currently inclined to view alien hunting as contacting dogs by barking. Imagine a species of dog is trying to contact another species of dogs. How would they do it? By barking or howling, right? Would we notice that, as a signal of that type? Would we care? How much smarter, given some theoretical maximal potential, are we than dogs? WOW signal which was a odd and only of that type, detected in 1977, was ignored and regarded as uncredulous since it was never repeated since then. Was that a signal from aliens theoretically of the development level conforming to us?
In this series of articles(Searching For Alien Life), I’ll delve much into the chasm of infinite possibilities of intelligent extraterrestrial beings out there and would propose some groundbreaking and mind boggling technologies to search for alien life which are, however not so muddling. I may return with some old propositions of mine with new exotic supporting adherents to the tactics.
Current research seeks to understand how complexity arises from simplicity. Much progress has been made in the past few decades, but a good appreciation for some of the most important chemical steps that led to life still eludes us. That’s because life itself is extraordinarily complex, much more so than galaxies, stars, or planets. Consider for a moment the simplest known protein on the Earth. This is insulin, which has 51 amino acids linked in a specific order along a chain. Probability theory can be used to estimate the chances of assembling the correct number and order of amino acids for such a protein molecule. Since there are 20 different types of amino acids, the answer is 1/20^51, which equals ~1/10^66. This means thatthe 20 amino acids must be randomly assembled 1066, or a million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion, times before getting insulin. This is obviously a great many combinations, so many in fact that we could randomly assemble the 20 aminoacids trillions of times per second for the entire history of the Universe and still not achieve the correct ordering of this protein. Larger proteins and nucleic acids would be even less probable if chemical evolution operates at random. And to assemble a human being would be vastly less probable, if it happened by chance starting only with atoms or simple molecules.
This is the type of reasoning used by some researchers to argue that we must be alone, or nearly so, in the Universe. They suggest that biology of any kind is a highly unlikely phenomenon. They argue that meaningful molecular complexity can be expected at only a very, very few locations in the Universe, and that Earth is one of these special places. And since, in their view, the fraction of habitable planets on which life arises is extremely small and intelligent beings almost improbable. All if their arguments are correct, we should be alone logically. Of all the myriad galaxies, stars, planets, and other wonderful aspects of the Universe, this viewpoint maintains that we are among very few creatures to appreciate the grandeur of it all.
Simulations that resemble conditions on primordial Earth are now routinely performed with a variety of energies and initial reactants (provided there’sno free oxygen). These experiments demonstrate that unique (or even rare) conditions are unnecessary to produce the precursors of life. Complex acids, bases, and proteinoid compounds are formed under a rather wide variety of physical conditions. And it doesn’t take long for these reasonably complex molecules to form, not nearly as long as probability theory predicts by randomly assembling atoms. Furthermore, every time this type of experiment is done, the results are much the same. The oily organic matter trapped in the test tube always yields the same proportion of acids, bases and rich proteinoids. If chemical evolution were entirely random, we might expect a different result each time the experiment is run. Apparently, electromagnetic forces do govern the complex interactions of the many atoms and molecules in the soupy sea, substituting organization for randomness. Of course, precursors of proteins and nucleic acids are a long way from life itself. But the beginnings of life as we know it seem to be the product of less-than-random interactions between atoms and molecules. This point of view is important to accumulate the possibility of radically different biorgasms in a typical alienated environment.
Current SETI methodologies implied to search for extraterrestrial life are abysmal and much peeking out. I’ve already described the probable guaranteed failure of contact through radio signal. It is better to send out a probe lassed with organic explorers.