VII. Pedia Sapiens: A Genesis Future on Earth and in the Heavens
D. Cosmocene Destiny: The Greening of the Galaxy
Finney, Ben and Eric Jones, eds. Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. An older volume which explores how the human penchant for exploration might play out on a cosmic scale.
Forgan, Duncan, et al. Evaluating Galactic Habitability Using High-Resolution Cosmological Simulations of Galaxy Formation. International Journal of Astrobiology. Online January, 2016. Astroscientists Forgan, with Pratika Dayal, Charles Cockell, and Noam Libeskind, proceed as Earthlings to seek out effective ways to estimate the relative kinds, areas, and phases of galaxies which might be favorable for living systems to form and evolve.
Galera, E. et al. Invasion Percolation Solves Fermi Paradox but Challenges SETI Projects. International Journal of Astrobiology. Online April, 2018. University of Sao Paulo physicists including Osame Kinouchi offer an innovative consideration of how physical and mathematical principles might serve to quantify the potential presence and distribution of colonial stellar and galactic civilizations.
Non-homogeneous fractal-like colonization processes, where the cluster of visited sites has large voids and grows slowly, could explain the negative results of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) preserving the possibility of a galactic spanning civilization. Here we present a generalized invasion percolation model to illustrate a minimal colonization process with large voids and delayed colonization. Spatial correlation between unvisited sites, in the form of large empty regions, suggests that to search civilizations in the Sun neighborhood may be a misdirected SETI strategy. A weaker form of the Fermi Paradox also suggests this last conclusion. (Abstract)
Garriga, J., et al. Eternal Inflation, Black Holes, and the Future of Civilizations. International Journal of Theoretical Physics. 39/7, 2000. Speculations on how a future universe might communicate with and leave a message as a legacy for other universes to come. But such extrapolations are remain inhibited by the paradigm of a moribund cosmos.
The Biological Terraforming of Mars: Planetary Ecosynthesis as Ecological Succession on a Global Scale.
An example of a natural genesis beginning to spread life and mind into the solar system and galaxy.
Gros, Claudius. Developing Ecospheres on Transiently Habitable Planets: The Genesis Project. arXiv:1608.06087. For this section broadly about future organic seedings and spreadings by our decisively self-sustained EarthKinder, here is an ideal example and proposal by the Goethe University, Frankfurt, systems physicist. (Johann would be pleased.) Drawing upon advances in the creation of minimal synthetic biological cells, along with findings of profligate exoplanets, a detailed pathway is laid out, albeit with novel starship ventures, which could begin to sow biochemical and cellular starters on near and farther suitable worlds.
It is often presumed, that life evolves relatively fast on planets with clement conditions, at least in its basic forms, and that extended periods of habitability are subsequently needed for the evolution of higher life forms. Many planets are however expected to be only transiently habitable. On a large set of otherwise suitable planets life will therefore just not have the time to develop on its own to a complexity level as it did arise on earth with the cambrian explosion. The equivalent of a cambrian explosion may however have the chance to unfold on transiently habitable planets if it would be possible to fast forward evolution by 3-4 billion years (with respect to terrestrial timescales). We argue here, that this is indeed possible when seeding the candidate planet with the microbial lifeforms, bacteria and unicellular eukaryotes alike, characterizing earth before the cambrian explosion. An interstellar mission of this kind, denoted the `Genesis project', could be carried out by a relatively low-cost robotic microcraft equipped with a on-board gene laboratory for the in situ synthesis of the microbes. We review here our current understanding of the processes determining the timescales shaping the geo-evolution of an earth-like planet, the prospect of finding Genesis candidate planets and selected issues regarding the mission layout. (Abstract)
Hanlon, Michael. Save the Universe. Aeon Magazine. April, 2015. On this popular online salon, a British science journalist opens with a subtitle sentence: It is only a matter of time before our Universe goes black, cold and dies. Must this be the end of the road for life? Based on the latest scientific findings, since our precious Earthkind could well be the only phenomenal people and planet ever able to contravene and co-create, a future Save the Universe Project is proposed. The posting goes on to entertain mundane issues such as intentionally slowing down cosmic expansion within its aim to broach the very idea, possibility, vista, and challenge.
The Universe will end, not with a bang, but with a whimper, maybe 10 googol years from now. That is, if no one tries to do anything about it. So, what can be done? Should life surrender to its sad, entropic fate, or should we (for ‘we’ are the only entities we know of who might be able to make a difference) at least begin to think about postponing – perhaps indefinitely – the death of the only home we have? (3) The project is not really about saving the Universe, but about saving the life within it, life without which, after all, the cosmos is just gas and rocks and vacuum. It might prove that the ultimate answer to the problem of life, the universe and everything is not, as Douglas Adams joked, 42, but simply finding a way to keep the show on the road forever. (5)
Harrison, Albert. Spacefaring. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001. A review of what may be involved in Interstellar Migration but typically with no sense of an innately developmental cosmos.
Haussler, David. Odds for an Enlightened Rather than Barren Future. arXiv:1608.05776. The UC Santa Cruz, Genomics Institute senior bioinformatician expands his innovative thought onto a cosmic scale as an alternative to gloom and doom as planetary and interstellar intelligences may proceed to spread salutary knowledge across the galactic reaches. Thus, while we don’t have answers about the future fate of life, we do have hints, and these hints suggest there may be something extraordinary to come.
We are at a stage in our evolution where we do not yet know if we will ever communicate with intelligent beings that have evolved on other planets, yet we are intelligent and curious enough to wonder about this. We find ourselves wondering about this at the very beginning of a long era in which stellar luminosity warms many planets, and by our best models, continues to provide equally good opportunities for intelligent life to evolve. By simple Bayesian reasoning, if, as we believe, intelligent life forms have the same propensity to evolve later on other planets as we had to evolve on ours, it follows that they will likely not pass through a similar wondering stage in their evolution. This suggests that the future holds some kind of interstellar communication that will serve to inform newly evolved intelligent life forms that they are not alone before they become curious. (Abstract)
Hawking, Stephen. The Universe in a Nutshell. New York: Bantam Books, 2000. A marvelous illustrated excursion through the reaches of quantum and relativity physics which is included here because Chapter 6, Our Future, considers how biological and electronic life might continue to develop in complexity and mind at an ever increasing rate.
Hempsell, Mark. Terraforming in Context of the Evolving Space Infrastructure. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. 58/11-12, 2005. An example from this journal of the human continuance of life’s intelligent evolution into the solar system and galaxies by creating artificial planets, among other rearrangement and vitalization of the spacescape.
Impey, Chris. How It Ends: From You to the Universe. New York: Norton, 2010. The book off-handedly considers the fateful future demise of everything from earthly organisms and we people to the entropically expiring cosmos. As such, one more book this year resigned to the material machine paradigm of an indifferent, absurd multiverse, devoid of any generative source or purposeful destiny, that is seemingly bent on inflicting this despair and death sentence upon us.