III. A Revolutionary Organic Habitable UniVerse
H. An Astrochemistry to Astrobiological Fertility
Cabrol, Nathalie. Alien Mindscapes: A Perspective on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Astrobiology. Online July, 2016. The author is director of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute. She has a Sorbonne doctorate in Planetary Geology and is a leading authority on exoplanet water resources. The article is a comprehensive overview of this cosmic vista just opening for our special planet to survey, quantify, and wonder if any neighbors exist out there for us to meet.
Advances in planetary and space sciences, astrobiology, and life and cognitive sciences, combined with developments in communication theory, bioneural computing, machine learning, and big data analysis, create new opportunities to explore the probabilistic nature of alien life. Brought together in a multidisciplinary approach, they have the potential to support an integrated and expanded Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI1), a search that includes looking for life as we do not know it. This approach will augment the odds of detecting a signal by broadening our understanding of the evolutionary and systemic components in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), provide more targets for radio and optical SETI, and identify new ways of decoding and coding messages using universal markers. (Abstract)
Candian, Alessandra, et al. The Aromatic Universe. Physics Today. November, 2018. Dutch and Chinese scientists extol the innately essential presence of rich molecular structures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as planar flakes of fused benzene rings, along with their fullerene cousins, as revealed by their vibrational and electronic spectra.
Cataldo, Franco, et al. Petroleum, Coal and Other Organics in Space. arXiv:2005.01162. In a paper to appear in a special issue of Astrophysics and Space Science, Italian and French astrochemists discern and extend the pervasive presence of such organic, precursor biochemicals across a conducive spacescape. And we add such spontaneous formations of quite organic, fuel-like components well implies an innate, evolutionary fertility.
The petroleum and coal models of the unidentified infrared emissions (UIE), sometimes referred also as unidentified infrared bands (UIBs) has been reviewed mainly based on the work of the authors with the inclusion of unpublished results. It is shown that the petroleum and coal model of the UIE converges and merges quite well with the MAON (Mixed Aromatic Aliphatic Organic Nanoparticles) model of the UIE. It is shown that the thermal treatment of various substrates like PAHs, alkylated PAHs but also mixed aliphatic/olefinic substrates leads invariable to carbonaceous materials matching the infrared spectrum of anthracite coal or certain petroleum fractions. (Abstract excerpt)
Catling, David, et al. Why O2 is Required by Complex Life on Habitable Planets and the Concept of Planetary “Oxygenation Time.”. Astrobiology. 5/3, 2005. An atmosphere with sufficient free oxygen is imperative for life to evolve. A candidate planet will then need a stable solar system to provide enough years for this to occur. The authors note that the Periodic Table and the element Oxygen is especially suited for the rise of intricate, cognitive entities. Upon reflection, these properties could imply an innately biological universe made for this purpose.
Ceccarelli, Cecilia, et al. Seeds of Life in Space (SOLIS). arXiv:1710.10437. A 46 member team from European astronomical institutes present initial findings from IRAM-NOEMA satellite instrumentations as they detect an “organic composition diversity at 300-1000 AU scale in solar-type star forming regions.” As a result, a lively milieu of precursor biochemicals is being discovered, here dubbed “interstellar Complex Organic Molecules.”
Chaisson, Eric. A Unifying Concept for Astrobiology. International Journal of Astrobiology. 2/2, 2003. The expansion of the universe provides an energy driver for the evolution of complexity and life. This journal issue contains a number of articles on philosophical aspects of the subject, abstracts are available online.
Charnley, Steven, et al. Molecules in Space. Physics World. October, 2003. At latest count, over 130 compounds have been detected including biomolecules such as amino acid glycine needed for life.
Chela-Flores, Julian. A Second Genesis: Stepping-stones Towards the Intelligibility of Nature. Singapore: World Scientific, 2009. Rather than attempt theoretical explanations for other life in the cosmos, the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics astrobiologist lays out a detailed research program going forward to seek and encounter another instance beyond this ‘first genesis’ on earth. In so doing, an imperative basis is the persistent convergence of a directed evolutionary process on the same path toward embodied sentience. An extensive Glossary and Annotated Bibliography help serve this purpose.
We live in a golden age of the space, life and earth sciences. Never before did we have such detailed view of our cosmos, or understood in general terms its evolution, as well as the formation of our own planet. (vii) Yet, at the same time never before have we had such misrepresentation of the real frontiers of science. (vii)
Astrobiology’s Last Frontiers.
Seckbach, Joseph, ed.
Origins: Genesis, Evolution and Diversity of Life.
Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 2004.
In this collection about the distribution and density of life in the universe, a concluding philosophical take on what kind of universe is implied – does contingency rule or does a constant convergence across cosmic, planetary, molecular, biochemical, and biological realms exist?
Chela-Flores, Julian. Fluid Mechanics and Systems Biology for Understanding the Cosmic Distribution of Life. Sigalotti, Leonardo, et al, eds. Computational and Experimental Fluid Mechanics. Switzerland: Springer, 2014. The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, biophysicist and “systems astrobiology” coiner (search) draws on his early experience in the first field to add further evidence that organisms quite seem to appear, evolve, develop, converge, and emerge from the independent essences of the natural genesis universe.
Life in the Universe will emerge from statistical analysis of large data banks that are now rapidly beginning to accumulate. Our combined assumptions of convergence and the cosmos as a complex system imply that all the Earth-like exo-planets that will be in the habitable zone of their corresponding star will have an identifiable bioindicator (anomalous production of biogenic gases). The signs of life are predicted to be a biologically produced atmosphere, largely fractionated towards one of the biogenic gases (in the case of the Earth the large fractionation triggered by biosystems is the 21% of oxygen). Such atmospheres would not be the result of natural accretion processes in the processes that give origin to the planets, but instead, the emergence of the biogenic atmospheres would be the result of the innate phenomenon of life that the laws of biochemistry will allow in brief geologic times. (7)
Chela-Flores, Julian. From Systems Chemistry to Systems Astrobiology: Life in the Universe as an Emergent Phenomenon. International Journal of Astrobiology. Online July, 2012. The International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, astrophilosopher perceives a positively conducive cosmos for the inevitable appearance and progressive rise of life and persons. It is proposed that if chemical matter consistently arrays itself as a complex system, whose diverse biomolecules are found across celestial realms, then this field of study similarly ought to have a “systems” distinction.
We assume a close integration of the phenomenon of life and all cosmic matter, both dark and visible. We further assume that life is subject to evolutionary convergence. The close integration of life and matter forms a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life in the universe. Our aim is to set the basis for a theoretical biology interpretation of the ongoing measurements of the local sector of our galaxy by current and future space probes. We argue that our hypothesis of viewing the cosmos as a single complex system can lead to insights into the phenomenon of life interpreted as an emergent phenomenon with testable predictions that have escaped the standard approach of chemical evolution. (1)
Chela-Flores, Julian and F. Raulin, eds. Exobiology: Matter, Energy and Information in the Origin and Evolution of Life in the Universe. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1998. Proceedings of the Fifth Trieste Conference on Chemical Evolution. As these meetings explore the many aspects of the cosmic and planetary evolution of life and mind, the universe increasingly appears as an organic gestation. One paper by John Oro goes on to find ethical tenets implied by this cosmic sense of life - Humility, Solidarity, Cooperation, Hope, Universality, Golden Rule - by which people might be inspired to change from a culture of war to one of peace.