The world is ending. Not right now, mind you, but we can rest assured that it will end. Whether from massive star explosions in nearby solar systems, a collision with another body in space or the death of our own sun, life on this planet -- all life -- at one point will cease to be. And according to Michael Mautner of Virginia Commonwealth University, we have a moral obligation to seed life throughout the universe before that happens.
Mautner, a research professor of chemistry, argues in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Cosmology that as the product of 4 billion years of evolution from early life forms that very well may have been deposited here from elsewhere in the universe, we have an obligation to keep the evolutionary ball rolling. Self-perpetuation is ingrained in our DNA, and there's no reason that should be limited to our tiny rock.
It seems like an impossible task; the universe is a hostile place, and even with missions like Kepler designed to identify earth-like planets circling faraway stars we may never find one suited to life as we know it. But it's important to remember that Earth was once a hostile neighborhood as well; hardy little organisms spent millions upon millions of years sucking down toxic gasses and withstanding harsh environmental conditions before creating a habitat for higher evolution. Kick-starting that process on other planets is our moral duty, Mautner says.
What we need to do, he argues, is send an array of these resilient little life forms with a range of environmental tolerances to a variety of potential target habitats where some species might thrive and eventually create the conditions necessary for higher life forms. These places include extrasolar earth-like rocks, accretion disks around young stars that will eventually form planets and even interstellar clouds that will eventually become the stuff of stars.
These microbial payloads would be small -- 100,000 organisms would weigh only 0.1 micrograms -- and solar sails powered by the radiation pressure of light would be physically capable of carrying the organisms across great distances in space. The real challenge would be hitting target habitats many light years away. But if we launch a few hundred tons of biomass into space over many years and on multiple missions the numbers should shake out in favor of landing some organic matter somewhere where it can take hold.
But while it's certain that life on Earth will one day cease, it's less certain who among us will pick up the tab for multiple space launches sending a bunch of bacteria to sow the seeds of life on planets we very well may never see. Still, we like Mautner's macro-universal thinking: a cosmic legacy for all life on Earth, perpetuating the evolutionary idea that life can overcome anything (even collapsing stars). Is seeding the universe a moral obligation, a matter of right versus wrong? That's debatable. But it's certainly a matter of life or death.
A little random thing: I'm in North Florida.. and the weather here is shitty right now.
I'm not sure that the weather is altogether pleasant anywhere right now. Here in Toledo, we had 2 consecutive snow days for all of the local schools, my friends up in Alaska DON'T have the snow that they should (makes snowmachine travel difficult), and a friend in Philedelphia said that the weather is terrible there as well.
And in Montreal, Canada, the weather is always shitty. Only clouds, snow, cold...
Actually, I would want to make a comment showing my point of view but this comment would be of about 400 pages (and this is over my English level)... Let say that I see it pretty much like Meshca. I don't consider us like viruses or whatever. Were just humans, trying to live in this world. And what, I ask you, make you think we are more ''bad'' than any other species? Do you have a comparison?
Oh, also, meshca, ''we send troybny and a pack of monkeys''
I'm agreeing with this one!
We should do it. There is only one problem; we would evantually lose track of the satellite. You never know what might happen. It may land on a planet with intelligent species smarter than us and know about earth. I have a couple of questions like how is the micro-organisms going to stay alive. You got to think it may not land on a planet for lightyears. I like the idea, but the plan can be revised
Let me get this strait.
One argument is going on. Whether or not humans should send "biopacks" or other such things that can propagate life, to other planets.
Some "holier than thou" idiots brimming with knowledge from their 7th grade history book site Manifest destiny and decry the advance of the human conquest.
Another group argues that we will contaminate the universe. I would greatly love for them to define "contaminations" because such a term only holds true is there is something to be contaminated.
A third group says that its our moral obligation to spread humanity because humans desire reproduction, because that is a trait evolution has bred in all races.
And a fourth group worried about us starting an intersteller war by sending the common cold to a planet with advanced sentient beings that results in mass xenocide and a thirst for revenge.
Oh where to start!
The arguments against the professors statment are all intertwined, and flawed in the sense of objective pragmatism. Arguments for spreading life also have some flaws, but lets start with the antagonists.
What what wrong with manifest destiny? Yeah, it was misguided. The results are a large nation, a superpower, and far too many other good things to count. Bad things have resulted as well. Potential bad things, or potential good things that may exist or may have existed are mute points. You cannot determine what would have been. You can look back and say: "was it wrong? why was it wrong? should we not do it again?" The only reason it was considered bad was because we killed natives along the way, and took their land.
By the way, this is a call to spread LIFE, not humanity. Also, we wouldn't bother spreading it to where it exists, so we arn't killing anything. Manifest destiny is an incomparable situation, and I would kindly ask it not be mentioned again because it makes me sad that idiots are allowed to speak.
Onto the second group. Contamination in the general sense, is the presence of unwanted chemicals or lifeforms that cause undesirable effects. Please tell me the undersirable effect of having life elsewhere than Earth. If we assume no other planets sustain life, then there is nothing to register this alien presence as "undersirable" and therefore, it is not contamination, but merely a spread. If we assume other planets DO possess life, then our mission is acomplished. And if you're ok with this, why is life occuring naturally elsewhere different than life occuring here and propegating elsewhere?
Third group. Once again, HE IS NOT CALLING TO SPREADY HUMANITY. We do not have a sense on continuity in this matter. If humans were arrogant, we would not care about any races surviving other than ourselves. This idea transcends any of that with the simple realization that life is special. That sentience is a special thing in the universe, and that it should persist. While life is great at propogating itself, getting it started is a massive conundrum only solved with theories of infintesmially unlikely chemical reactions-- or God. This is a call to deposit microscopic life--the simplest forms of life-- elsewhere, so when our sun goes supernova, or when we decimate the planet with nuclear arms, or an asteroid boils the mantle, that LIFE will still exist. It is assurance that life will go on. The responsibility comes from us being life, realizing its complexity and value, and seeing that it should be preserved.
The fouth group. We will not knowingly send life to planets possessing life. We could also equip the "biopacks" with sensors to confirm no life or organic materials are in the vacinity. If it detects life, it will vaporize itself, preventing contamination from a planet's personal brand of life. What I really want to say to you though is, go to hell. I dislike idiots that turn to fantasy so they can argue.
-NOT SPREADING HUMANITY
-No chance of contamination, unless life exists, in which case, problem solved.
-preserving one of the most precious and unlikely phenomena in existance
-sentient alien species capable of intersteller travel can survive a virus. Quarentine and natural immune systems work wonders.
-get your heads out of your "humanity is inherintly evil" asses.
Thank you, and have a good night.
Well far starters, to pick these planets to spread life to, we are looking with things like hubble, we are not able to run over to these places and check for life first. We just see a dot on the screen and say: hmmm by the size of the planet and moon, and distance from the sun life may be able to survive here, but we don't know and cant check first if life is already evolving there, so our probe will land and possibly throw off the balance of nature there.
A lot of you here do not believe life is out there, well we are still checking our nine planets and NASA thinks we will find life in our solar system.
They found frozen water on the moon and in other places and now think water is on over 50% of the things floating in space. We checked for life on 9 out of a infinity planets that is your reason to think that there is no life out there. Life is booming out there we just need to learn how to travel.
If you believe in god or in the big bang or anything else then why would you think that that event just happened here and no where else.
I do believe we need to spread to new places because this planet will not make it forever and it is important our ways and cultures should survive its a issue of how we spread that concerns me. I think we need to go to these places in human form (when possible) instead of blindly spreading life building materials that have already been found on meteorites that hit earth, life spreads on its own our challenge is to keep the balance of nature stable. I am not to big on god but I do believe natures billions + years of spreading life is way more effective. I have no problem sending these biopacks to a place we know there is no life but there is no way to see that far to another planet that is Earth like. I have seen the video of them finding possible earth like places and we are VERY far from even learning to probe one.
you're quite right thizzled. It is possible we will find life elsewhere in our solar system (not on the moon, but in other places where water is plentiful and liquid enough). If we find UNRELATED (as in, life developed seperately on Earth and say, Europa, rather than it occuring one place and via meteorite, translocated) then it would be quite reasonable to assume that life elsewhere exists in plentiful amounts.
Meanwhile however, we have yet to find conclusive evidence that life exists (or existed) on anywhere but Earth. That coupled with the intercomplexity of life generates a fearful picture. I greatly hope that, despite the infintesimal chance of life arising, the near-infinite scope of the universe over billions of years has counteracted that and resulted in a massive amount of life throughout the universe. If we don't find evidence of unrelated life (more than one spark) occuring in our universe, we have nothing to go on, and we will not be able to properly estimate the probablility of life until we venture to nearbye solar systems.
The idea of "If here, then why not elsewhere" is flawed, because no matter where the one spark of life occured (if indeed there has only been one) then the sentients who arose from that spark would ask "why here". It happend here because it had to be somewhere, and we would be where it occured. We noticed that where we are is where we are.
Overall though, you are correct that we have little way of acertaining whether life is on a planet we send a biopack to. If we were to take the safest possible measures, we would send a biolab to potential planets, acertain that it is habitable but uninhabited, and then release organisms into the wild.
However, as far as the "moral responsibility" this proffessor calls for, the idea is this. If we have not the resources or ability to scan for life on other planets, then it is more responsible to send biopacks without knowing. If there is no life in the universe, no problem. If there is life, we might screw up some planets, but what is a few planets compared to the mass amount of life? The consequeces are far worse if we presume life is commonly present in the universe, and we're wrong, than if we assume the opposite, and are wrong.
1. First of all we haven't found a suitable planet.
2. We would have to consider how to get the Human Race there.
3. We would also need transportation for other species vital to our survival (Fruits, vegetables, meats etc.)
4. If we came across an inteligent species it either shares its dang planet or we move in and bomb there civilization to smithereens.
5. We really wouldn't have a choice in the matter becuase A. Well be dead B. We all know the world would push for the survival of the human race anyways.
WOW, genesis3333. Assuming we do discover another intelligent species (I'm not convinced we will), I sure hope that their strategy for colonization is not like yours... I'm pretty sure that humanity has enough trouble sharing this planet with each other .: I'm pretty sure that if earth was "discovered," we'd be the recipients of a Xenocide similar to what you propose.
Thanks for the thoughtful comments Brian 144, webpolish, Low Spender, Mescha, Sierra34. Please visit
www.panspermia-society.com, it would be great if you join and help us to secure life.
thanks for all the lol's guys;by some of the comments posted here; life should never of been allowed to exist in the first place & we should go extinct immediately;
if life is a 1 in a billion chance & just random mutation, then spreading life further throughout the galaxy/universe, is going to be extremely difficult,but otherwise natural process;
we ourselves maybe destroyed by man's own hand or some other disaster;but you can betcha the microscopic organisms that are life,will continue else where; with or without us. Rna & Dna is said to be able to exist in the harsh enivoroment of deep space. life is said to have been transferred to earth from early comets & asteriods;
so the concept of helping seed space is only natural;
if by chance life was delibrately started, then i would suggest it was so that the universe could become aware of itself & seeding other areas of space is again a natural process.
We should just move to Titan like in the song by Hammerfall. We could survive there for several million years. (Assuming that the world is ending because of the sun enlarging)
The constant talk of the world ending is enough to send some people into an apathetic frame of mind. When we consider the increased mental illness in society hearing this type of discussion may just push them over the edge into complete insanity and or violence. We must be mindful of the message and the intent,
Here are just some of the unusually held beliefs of the way the world is invariably going too perish:
Yellowstone National Park exploding
Nibiru hurtling into our planet carrying an ancient and hostile form of alien life. Yes people believe this one.
The endless blather around 2012. The mayans are ancient and therefore hold the wisdom and irrefutable powers of prophecy from which there is no escape....c'mon people they couldn't even predict their own downfall...
Every atom all at once "vibrating" into non-existence, thus negating all existence.
The solar system getting sucked into a black hole.
The sun ending all life via an explosive, joyful ray of death inducing radiation stripping the planet of it's atmosphere and thus ending all life as we know it.
A supernova from a nearby star, see above solar radiation doomsday scenario.
Robots taking over the world.
Religious Apocalypse involving the Anti-Christ, some form of Jesus zombie warrior destroying the armies of said anti-christ AND the armies of the Eastern Kingdoms because they are both n00bs, and should quit fighting. Hail Satan!
God suddenly deciding he's tired of humanity.
A super-plague that wipes the human race out.
Aliens that have come too conquer our planet for it's resources and too farm humanity because our soft-squishy bodies are important too some obscure unknowable process the aliens need too survive.
These are just a few of the exhaustive scenarios in which the world can end. All have website dedicated too pontificating the authenticity of each scenario and it's impending happening on the horizon of human existence. So...apathetic reader's, begin your spiral of self-destructive behavior in which you begin too consume vast amounts of alcohol and drugs, which will in turn cause you too have sex an obnoxious amount of times producing even MORE babies too grow up and populate the planet. Remember, you are our future, emo kids.
Professor Mautner is correct about our moral obligation inasmuch as human presence on our planet is the result of the recipropal propagation of intelligent life throughout the universe, by intelligent life. This morality follows naturally from conscious acceptance of the gift and promise of intelligent life.
We have the moral obligation to ensure that our species does not die out, through ignorance or inaction. We owe this to our OFFSPRING, and they to theirs; it is what we are designed to do. This includes preserving life in as many forms as we can. To do this we must spread it, and ourselves, around. Human-haters and the chronically depressed need not reply.
This idea is utterly repulsive. Evolution by natural selection has inflicted and still inflicts monstrous and incomprehensible suffering upon sentient life. As I write this now thousands of animals are been slowly consumed from within by parasitic insects; others are having their flesh torn off as they writhe in agony: others are dying of starvation, disease, thirst, cold etc, or watching their children or parents being consumed and mutilated by predators. This is for no greater or meaningful purpose than consuming and reproducing in an environment with slight genetic adaptations. Why would you instigate such unnecessary and preposterous suffering on alien planets?