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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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III. A Revolutionary Organic Habitable UniVerse

H. An Astrochemistry to Astrobiological Fertility

Chela-Flores, Julian, et al, eds. Astrobiology: Origins from the Big Bang to Civilization. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1999. Proceedings from the 1999 Iberoamerican School of Astrobiology conference held in Caracas, Venezuela. Of especial note is “Information, Life and Brains” by Juan Roederer and “Evolution of Adaptive Systems” by Hernan Dopazo.

Chown, Marcus. Is There Anybody In There? New Scientist. November 26, 2005. A report on the latest views of Stephen Wolfram, polymath author of A New Kind of Universe, who advises that the current search for signals from extraterrestrials will not be successful as is. Wolfram applies his advanced understanding of digital information to say that techniques such as data compression are called for to discern necessarily encoded, embedded messages that ETs might send. Furthermore, a communication may be inherent within in a computational universe whose complex structures, including people, arise from iterative algorithms run over and over. Of course, this begs translation – could the ultimate creative system be the interplay of yin feminine and yang masculine.

Chyba, Christopher and Kevin Hand. Astrobiology: The Study of the Living Universe. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 43, 2005. A comprehensive survey which is well covered by its Abstract.

Astrobiology is the study of the living universe. Astronomy provides the context for the origin and evolution of life on Earth. Conversely, discoveries about the terrestrial biosphere from extremophilic microbes to the evolution of intelligence inform our thinking about prospects for life elsewhere. Astrobiology includes the search for extraterrestrial life via in situ exploration, spectroscopy of solar and extrasolar planetary atmospheres, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. This review situates astrobiology within philosophical issues of the definition of life and the biological compatibility of the universe. It reviews the habitability of the Galaxy in general and of planets and moons in particular, and summarizes current controversies in origins-of-life research and in evidence for the earliest life on Earth. It critiques certain "rare Earth" and "anthropic" arguments, and considers four approaches to deciding whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the Galaxy. It concludes that astrobiology must also speak to the future of human civilization. (31)

Cirkovic, Milan. Evolutionary Contingency and SETI Revisited. Biology and Philosophy. 29/5, 2014. In this paper, the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade scholar seeks to counter some 50 years later George Gaylord Simpson’s 1964 paper where he claimed that due to nature’s profligate excesses, intelligent civilizations anywhere else do not exist, so a search for them is a waste of time. While a stochastic extravagance is surely evident, today novel recognitions of life’s persistent convergent trend in our cognizant human direction need be factored in.

Cirkovic, Milan. The Astrobiological Landscape: Philosophical Foundations of the Study of Cosmic Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. The Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade and Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University, astrophysicist achieves an innovative overview upon the revolutionary sense of a fertile evolutionary abode for living, intelligent entities, now of a planetary scale. Again this vista results from an imperative reunion of animate and physical realms and principles. From the latest findings, an organic cosmos is seen to fill itself with friendly “habitable zones” from stars and galaxies onto a “Habitable Universe.” This astrobiology profligacy then infers an extension of natural selection to a “galactic Darwinism.” Altogether a neo-Copernican synthesis is presaged as living, developing systems found everywhere redefine a permissive multiverse. A synopsis appears in the International Journal of Astrobiology, search Branislav Vukotic and Cirkovic. But alas still no inkling of a greater reality and genesis that is growing forth on its ordained own.

Astrobiology is an expanding, interdisciplinary field investigating the origin, evolution and future of life in the universe. Tackling many of the foundational debates of the subject, from discussions of cosmological evolution to detailed reviews of common concepts such as the 'Rare Earth' hypothesis, this volume is the first systematic survey of the philosophical aspects and conundrums in the study of cosmic life. The author's exploration of the increasing number of cross-over problems highlights the relationship between astrobiology and cosmology and presents some of the challenges of multidisciplinary study. Modern physical theories dealing with the multiverse add a further dimension to the debate. (Publisher)

Thus the stage is set. In the remaining chapters, I shall try to muster support for the following tightly interrelated theses: 1. The relationship between cosmology and astrobiology is much deeper than it is usually assumed – besides a similarity in the historical model of development of these two disciplines, there is an increasing number of crossover problems and thematic areas that stem from considerations of Copernicanism and observation selection effects. 2. Such a crossover area is both visualized and heuristically strengthened by the introduction of the astrobiological landscape, describing complexity of life in the most general context. Modern physical theories dealing with the multiverse add an additional level of detail to what is orthodoxly perceived as astrobiological enterprise, encapsulated in the Archipelago of Habitability. 3. Even in its orthodox version, within the well-defined confines of the Milky Way, modern astrobiology offers the prospect of both foundational support and a vast extension of the domain of applicability of the Darwinian biological evolution. (22)

Cleeves, L. Ilsedore, et al. The Ancient Heritage of Water Ice in the Solar System. Science. 345/1590, 2014. University of Michigan, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Harvard University, and University of Exeter scientists quantify the presence of hydrogen dioxide in its solid form as a pervasive primordial milieu for biochemical life’s later planetary occasion. Search Ewine van Dishoeck, and Geoffrey Blake for more findings about a conducive universe bathed in amniotic water.

Identifying the source of Earth’s water is central to understanding the origins of life-fostering environments and to assessing the prevalence of such environments in space. Water throughout the solar system exhibits deuterium-to-hydrogen enrichments, a fossil relic of low-temperature, ion-derived chemistry within either (i) the parent molecular cloud or (ii) the solar nebula protoplanetary disk. Using a comprehensive treatment of disk ionization, we find that ion-driven deuterium pathways are inefficient, which curtails the disk’s deuterated water formation and its viability as the sole source for the solar system’s water. This finding implies that, if the solar system’s formation was typical, abundant interstellar ices are available to all nascent planetary systems. (Abstract)

Thus a significant fraction of the solar system’s water predates the Sun. These findings imply that some amount of interstellar ice survived the formation of the solar system and was incorporated into planetesimal bodies. Consequently, if the formation of the solar nebula was typical, our work implies that interstellar ices from the parent molecular cloud core, including the most fundamental life-fostering ingredient, water, are widely available to all young planetary systems. (1592)

Cleland, Carol. The Quest for a Universal Theory of Life. ambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. The veteran University of Colorado philosopher of astrobiology surveys the past and present of unresolved efforts to explain ourselves and the life phenomenon of living systems across local and cosmic matter. With a nod to Aristotle and Darwin, is its essence self-organization or genetic reproduction, how can we ever define and know? But we add, it seems as long as (male) mindset rules that cannot imagine or allow any extant universe at all from which viability arises, no answer will be possible.

Cobb, Alyssa and Ralph Pudritz. Nature’s Starships: Observed Abundances and Relative Frequencies of Amino Acids in Meteorites. Astrophysical Journal. 783/2, 2014. McMaster University, Origins Institute researchers quantify how interstellar meteor showers with a rich presence of biochemicals can serve the spread and seeding of precursor life across the interstellar spacescape. See also by the authors with Ben Pearce in this journal Simulating the Synthesis of Amino Acids in Meteorite Parent Bodies (809/1, 2015).

Cohen, Jack and Ian Stewart. What Does a Martian Look Like?: The Science of Extraterrestrial Life. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2002. An imaginative survey of potential life forms in the cosmos. This is made plausible because nonlinear science has lately surpassed the second law of thermodynamics with a ‘fourth law’ to describe how a life-bearing universe becomes increasingly complex and sentient, rather than entropically wearing out. A significant attribute of the human presence is seen as ‘extelligence,’ a planetary culture that is independent of individual minds.

Where the entropy physicists saw the Universe following the slippery slope downwards to oblivion, today’s complexity thinkers see the universe as complicating itself and inventing new rules as it goes along. (89)

Corradi, R., et al. The Planetary Nebula IPHASXJ211420.0+434136 (Ou5): Insights into Common-Envelope Dynamical and Chemical Evolution. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 441/4, 2014. A typical paper today from observatories in Spain, Chile, Estonia, and South Africa whence it is possible for such global collaborations to study and characterize neighbor orbital worlds across the galaxies. And how fantastic is this that phenomenal human beings can gain knowledge of such infinities, what great discovery might we altogether anticipate and achieve?

While analysing the images of the IPHAS (INT/WFC Photometric Hα Survey of the northern Galactic plane) survey, we noticed that the central star of the candidate planetary nebula IPHASXJ211420.0+434136 (also named Ou5) was clearly variable. This is generally considered as an indication of binarity. To confirm it, we performed a photometric monitoring of the central star, and obtained images and spectra of the nebula. The nebular spectrum confirms that IPHASXJ211420.0+434136 is a planetary nebula of moderately high excitation. It has a remarkable morphology with two nested pairs of bipolar lobes and other unusual features. The light curve of the central star reveals that it is an eclipsing binary system with an orbital period of 8.74 h. IPHASXJ211420.0+434136 also adds evidence to the hypothesis that a significant fraction of planetary nebulae with close binary central stars have a peculiar nebular chemistry and a relatively low nebular mass. This may point to low-mass, low-metallicity progenitors, with additional effects related to the binary evolution. (Abstract)

Cosmovici, C., et al, eds. Astronomical and Biochemical Origins and the Search for Life in the Universe. Bologna: Editrice Compositori, 1997. Reports from an International Astronomical Union IAU Colloquium. The tacit conviction at these conferences is a cosmos naturally spawning life and advanced intelligence.

Cote, Benoit, et al. JINA-NuGrid Galactic Chemical Evolution Pipeline. arXiv:1609.09528. Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, and Nucleosynthesis Grid project Earthlings retrospectively quantify how the temporal cosmos formed its material compositions, which evidently have our human acumen is written into them.

Galactic chemical evolution is a topic that involves nuclear physics, stellar evolution, galaxy evolution, observation, and cosmology. Continuous communication and feedback between these fields is a key component in improving our understanding of how galaxies form and how elements are created and recycled in galaxies and intergalactic space. In this proceedings, we present the current state of the JINA-NuGrid chemical evolution pipeline. It is designed to probe the impact of nuclear astrophysics uncertainties on galactic chemical evolution, to improve our knowledges regarding the origin of the elements in a cosmological context, and to create the required interdisciplinary connections. (Abstract)

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