III. Ecosmos: A Revolutionary Fertile, Habitable, Solar-Bioplanet Incubator Lifescape
I. Our EarthMost Occasion: A Rarest Confluence of Favorable Features and Close Calls
Cirkovic, Milan. Earths: Rare in Time, not Space? Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. 57/1-2, 2004. In attempt to move beyond the Rare Earth hypothesis, the Belgrade astronomer enlists a temporal factor whereby the Milky Way galaxy may be at the verge of a Phase Transition from a sparsely populated mode to being filled with centers of intentional intelligence. The present galactic moment is a “window of opportunity” when sentient observers may engage in their own “self-selection.”
The latter hypothesis (PT) suggests that our presence on Earth now selects a particular (and rather special) epoch of the history of the Milky Way: namely the epoch in which global regulation enables the emergence of complex, intelligent life forms. (57) However, our temporal location is rather special, since we are evolved complex metazoans on the verge – in terms of astrophysical timescales – of having capacities to leave our home biosphere and embark on the venture of Galactic colonization. (57)
Cirkovic, Milan. Kardashev’s Classification at 50+: A Fine Vehicle with Room for Improvement. arXiv:1601.05112. The Belgrade Astronomical Observatory astronomer and author (search) reviews the Russian futurist’s original three forms that a technological cosmic center of life might accrue as it takes over planetary, solar and galactic energy sources. His conjectures do stand the test of time, to which may now be added a universe scale, and even onto mutliverse reaches.
We review the history and status of the famous classification of extraterrestrial civilizations given by the great Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev (1932- ), roughly half a century after it has been proposed. While Kardashev's classification (or Kardashev's scale) has often been seen as oversimplified, and multiple improvements, refinements, and alternatives to it have been suggested, it is still one of the major tools for serious theoretical investigation of SETI issues. During these 50+ years, several attempts at modifying or reforming the classification have been made; we review some of them here, together with presenting some of the scenarios which present difficulties to the standard version. Recent results in both theoretical and observational SETI studies, especially the G-hat infrared survey (2014-2015), have persuasively shown that the emphasis on detectability inherent in Kardashev's classification obtains new significance and freshness. Several new movements and conceptual frameworks, such as the Dysonian SETI, tally extremely well with these developments. (Abstract)
Cirkovic, Milan. The Great Silence: Science and Philosophy of Fermi’s Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. The Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade and Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University astrophysicist and author (search) provides a thorough study of possible answers to Enrico Fermi’s famous query: with an infinity of suns and assumed worlds, the cosmos ought to be filled with signs of their presence, but they are nowhere to be seen. Thus follows an eclectic list of solipsist, rare-earth, neo-catastrophic, logistic, and so on guesses – they are hiding, we are toxic, it’s a zoo, too many natural or viral dangers, stick with your home base, arrested development, technological annihilation and more. A theme then courses through – while a “Copernican principle” need be held to such that Earth is not in any central location, a closing phrase is Many are called, but few are chosen. Since Earth life has made it through an evolutionary “Gaian Window,” maybe we are special after all (I may be reading this in) so that efforts to achieve sustainability ought to proceed. See also Where is Everybody? by Stephen Webb (2015), /The Future of Humanity by Michio Kaku (2018) and On the Future by Martin Rees (2018) for other takes. So some seven decades later, as an Earthropic Principle conveys, me + We = US could well be the It from Bit as participatory cosmic cocreators.
The Great Silence explores the multifaceted problem named after the great Italian physicist Enrico Fermi and his legendary 1950 lunchtime question "Where is everybody?" In many respects, Fermi's paradox is the richest and the most challenging problem for the entire field of astrobiology and the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) studies. The book shows how Fermi's paradox is intricately connected with many fields of learning, technology, arts, and even everyday life. It aims to establish the strongest possible version of the problem, to dispel many related confusions, obfuscations, and prejudices, as well as to offer a novel point of entry to the many solutions proposed in existing literature. Milan Cirković argues that any evolutionary worldview cannot avoid resolving the Great Silence problem in one guise or another. (Publisher)
Cirkovic, Milan and Branislav Vukotic. Astrobiological Landscape: A Platform for the Neo-Copernican Synthesis? International Journal of Astrobiology. Online October, 2012. As the Abstract explains, Belgrade astronomers draw upon many findings that imply an abiding lively cosmos which inherently seeds itself with complexifying biomolecules, habitable zones, and myriad fertile exoearths. In regard, it is proposed to extend biology’s evolutionary or fitness landscape models to celestial reaches, a notable advance toward imagining a procreative genesis cosmos.
We live in the epoch of explosive development of astrobiology, a novel interdisciplinary field dealing with the origin, evolution and the future of life. 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 which stem from considerations of Copernicanism and observation selection effects. Such a crossover area is both visualized and heuristically strengthened by introduction of the astrobiological landscape, describing complexity of life in the most general context. We argue that this abstract landscape-like structure in the space of astrobiological parameters is a concept capable of unifying different strands of thought and research, a working concept and not only a metaphor. By analogy with phase spaces of complex physical systems, we can understand the astrobiological landscape as a set of viable evolutionary histories of life in a particular region of space. It is a notion complementary to the classical concept of biological morphological space, underscoring the fact that modern astrobiology offers a prospect of both foundational support and vast extension of the domain of applicability of the Darwinian biological evolution. Such a perspective would strengthen foundations upon which various numerical models can be built; the lack of such quantitative models has often been cited as the chief weakness of the entire astrobiological enterprise. (Abstract)
Covone, Giovanni and Donato Giovannelli. Stellar Metallicity is a Key Parameter for the Search for Life in the Universe. arXiv:2207.03748. As if we needed another variable which effects life solar-planetary presence and evolution, University of Naples bioastronomers with postings at Woods Hole and Earth-Life Science Tokyo identify how proteins needs a certain supply of the proper metallic prompters. See also Mantle Mineralogy Limits to Rocky Planet Water Inventories by Clare Guimond, et al (2207.00014) and Minimum Units of Habitability and Their Abundance in the Universe by Charles Cockell, et al in Astrobiology (21/481, 2021), which is cited as a reference.
The search for Life in the Universe generally assumes three basic needs: vital elements (CHNOPS), a watery solvent for bio-reactions and a thermodynamic disequilibrium. The redox couples used by living systems involves thousands of reactions. Each has a midpoint redox potential due to oxidoreductases proteins which have metal catalytic centres. But these transition metals are not uniform across the cosmos, due to complex galaxy dynamics. Life's need for specific metals to access thermodynamic disequilibria has so far been overlooked with regard to astrobiological targets. Thus we argue that their relative availability is an essential feature of habitability, and a primary requisite in the exoplanetary search for life. (Abstract excerpt)
Cukier, Wolf, et al. Habitable Zone Boundaries for Circumbinary Planets. arXiv:1911.02983. Seven astrophysicists based in New York, Colorado and California including Jacob Haqq-Misra can now advise that double star formations are ubiquitous across the galaxy, which along with multiple star groups, make up at least half of all stellar placements. While life-bearing worlds can appear in this setting, it is not conducive over the long term for an evolution of human-like, sentient beings.
Da Silva, Luis Augusto. Self-Conscious Intelligent Technological Societies in the Universe. International Journal of Astrobiology. December, 2021. We note this entry by an Alexander von Humboldt Scientific Research Nucleus, Brazil astronomer and educator for its definitive witness that a whole universe can well appear to have an innate ability to engender on a planetary presence of an aware, person-like, global cognizance. But the writer goes on to cite (aka great filter) a late transitional juncture or bottleneck which need be passed through to achieve an “extremely rare, high survival probability state.” In regard, it does not look good for our Earth.
We present an alternative equation to estimate the probable number N of self-conscious intelligent technological societies (SCITSs) within the radius of the observable universe. This equation has only one poorly-known factor, Pc, the SCITS's formation probability, which can be estimated within an uncertainty by applying the restriction imposed by Fermi's Paradox. For an optimistic maximum life expectancy ≈108 yr, the conclusion is that two civilizations never coexist in the same galaxy. Our estimated values for Pc are compatible with current biological and astrophysical evidences. We propose a novel astrosociological classification to speculate about possible evolutionary paths for SCITSs in the universe. A ‘Closed Bottle Neck’ scenario suggests that civilizations are no exit in their evolution because there would not be interstellar travels nor Galaxy colonization. (Abstract excerpt)
Dehant, Veronique, et al. Geoscience for Understanding Habitability in the Solar System and Beyond. Space Science Reviews. 215/42, 2019. Eighteen researchers from six European countries survey of how a wide range of variable internal and external geological and environmental conditions might affect a planet’s hospitality for evolutionary life. A tour is first taken of the Early Earth, Mars, Venus and outer worlds. How study of near and far exoplanets might progress is then scoped out. And as one reads along, it strikes how such a 21st century contribution as this need be attributed to an as yet unidentified worldwise, collective entity learning by her/his own self.
This paper reviews habitability conditions for a terrestrial planet from the point of view of geosciences. It addresses how interactions between the interior of a planet or a moon and its surface atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere might be able to sustain life. We address and debate questions issues such as: How do core and mantle affect the evolution and habitability of planets; Mantle overturn on the evolution of the interior and atmosphere; What is the role of the global carbon and water cycles; The influence of comet and asteroid impacts on the evolution of the planet; How does life interact with the evolution of the Earth’s geosphere and atmosphere; and How can knowledge of the solar system geophysics and habitability be applied to exoplanets. (Abstract excerpt, edit)
Dosovic, Vladimir, et al. Advanced Aspects of the Galactic Habitability. arXiv:1904.01062. In a paper to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Belgrade astronomers VD, Branislav Vukotic and Milan Cirkovic continue to advance technical evaluations of how relatively conducive for life, organisms and persons this Milky Way galaxy might be. To do so, a fine line is drawn between colonization and catastrophe with regard to potential abilities to spread an interstellar civilization or succumb to external or internal disasters. And again it is amazing that a fledgling global prodigy, in this case from a recent war zone, can yet commence such quantifications of celestial frontiers.
Astrobiological evolution of the Milky Way has emerged as one of the key research topics in recent years. In order to build precise, quantitative models of the Galactic habitability, we need to account for two opposing tendencies of life and intelligence in the most general sense: the tendency to spread to all available ecological niches and the tendency to succumb to various types of existential catastrophes. These evolutionary tendencies are being engaged in fields such as ecology, macroevolution, risk analysis, and futures studies, while an astrobiological treatment has been lacking so far. Our aim is to investigate the dynamics of opposed processes of expansion and extinction of life in the Galaxy. While most of the examined parameter space shows very low habitability values, as expected, the remaining part has features that imply a reduction in the amount of fine-tuning to resolve the Fermi paradox. (Abstract excerpts)
Eggl, Siegfried, et al. Habitable Zones in Binary Star Systems: A Zoology. Galaxies. 8/3, 2020. SE, University of Washington, Nikolaos Georgakarakos, NYU Abu Dhabi, and Elke Pilat-Lohinger, University of Vienna astrophysicists provide a latest technical survey of the relative habitability for binary and multiple stellar arrays, which are now seen to compose 40 - 45% of solar objects. Under favorable conditions, living systems will occur and form, but a long term stability vital to evolutionary developments is chancy and unlikely. See also Fear the Shadows of the Giants: On Secular Perturbations in Circumstellar Habitable Zones of Double Stars by Akos Bazso and Elke Pilat-Lohinger at arXiv:2008.11651 (second quote).
Several concepts have been brought forward to determine where terrestrial planets are likely to remain habitable in multi-stellar environments. Dynamically informed habitable zones include gravitational perturbations on planetary orbits, and full scale, self consistent simulations promise detailed insights into the evolution of select terrestrial worlds. Predictions on where to look for habitable worlds in such environments can differ between concepts. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of current approaches and estimates for the various types of habitable zones in binary star systems. (Eggl Abstract)
Emspak, Jesse. New Insights into How the Solar System Formed. Astronomy. May, 2018. As the quote says, a science writer explains how the latest results increasingly imply that our home incubator is a uniquely conducive milieu. While myriad stellar systems are usually beset with chaos, here our large, gaseous Jupiter appears to have uniquely coursed over billions of years inward and out to form the relatively benign, orderly array that Earth presently abides in.
2018. As the quote says, a science writer explains how the latest results increasingly imply that our home incubator is a uniquely conducive milieu. While myriad stellar systems are usually beset with chaos, here our large, gaseous Jupiter appears to have uniquely coursed over billions of years inward and out to form the relatively benign, orderly array that Earth presently abides in.
Erdmann, Weronika, et al. How the Geomagnetic Field Influences Life on Earth. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres. 51/231, 2021. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland, biophysicists cite and quantify still another global and celestial factor which could have had a significant influence on life’s evolutionary course.
Earth is a rarity the Solar System because it has an oxidizing atmosphere, moderate temperatures, and a constant geomagnetic field (GMF). The GMF also protects life against the solar wind and cosmic rays which then led to stable environmental conditions. Organisms from archaea to plants and animals may have used the GMF as a source of spatial information. This review thus covers the latest findings about these many influences. In conclusion, a conducive GMF has a positive impact on living organisms, while a weak GMF has a negative affect. (Article excerpt)