It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

The Von Neumann Probe and You.

page: 1
0

log in

join
share:

posted on Dec, 24 2004 @ 02:29 AM
link   
Well, you'll have to forgive me in advance. I'm a bit rambly after suddenly realising how much sense this makes. If you'll bear with me and stand the read, I'd like to propose an answer to why we're here.

First, some background:

The Von Neumann Probe is a self-replicating self expanding robot. Jon Von Neumann (pronounced Noy-man, let's get that out of the way now) put forth the idea a long time ago. The idea is that millions of Von Neumann probes would be launched, and they would land on any planets in their paths, and start reproducing, then construct a means for more to be sent off, then continue the expansion, and millions more would be put forth from each colonised planet, who would then continue the trend. It would be the fastest and most efficient way to colonise and map out the known universe, taking as little as a half a million years to colonize the galaxy.

Now, some foreground:

We constantly speak about nanotechnology, self replicating robots, etc... - and we're currently working a lot in biotechnology, and we've even realised that DNA might be a great method of programming DNA-Bots.

We've also known for a while that bacteria is able to exist in space-type environments - It existed for a few years on the moon (69-73 or so).

We also know that we just somehow managed to start existing, and it is possible we've evolved from Bacteria.

Now the theory:

A long, long time ago, some species far more advanced than us came up with the same idea, and they knew the best way to go about it was biotechnology.

Cells were engineered that would last indefinitely in a stasis-like state as they drifted through space, propelled initially and then lightly carried by cosmic winds.

They would be pulled out of their stasis by the heat caused by entry into an atmosphere, and would lose some excess bulk to remain there - and begin mitosis.

As they divided and expanded continuously in the atmosphere, if the conditions were right, they could become heavier, falling to the earth - or, to the oceans.

On a place like earth, they would have the warm seas to evolve in, heated by the still cooling crust. They would continue onward in the seas, creating cultures and separations, evolving separately, and uniquely, finally competing and spurring evolution on themselves.

Eventually they would take to land from the seas - and you know the rest of the story until now. They would be driven to procreate through whatever means necessary, to expand, to explore, to chart, to map and to conquer.

We are they. We are the Von Neumann probe of some previous race.

By the Anthropological Principle, it's seen that we exist simply because the conditions were right. A 'Why' is unnecessary - if it was going to happen anywhere, why here? Well, because this is just a place it happened to work.

That's likely how the Von Neumann probes worked. There were quintillions, maybe decillions of initial bacteria launched - throw enough stones and you'll hit a bird. several thousand could have hit earth, and luckily enough evolved.

But what about other planets? Mars is known to have a few areas with naturally replenishing Nitrogen.. a sign of likely bacteria, though no actual bacteria has been directly seen.

Perhaps some bacteria hit Mars long ago, too, and all that's left is the little bit that is still alive in the atmosphere, creating Nitrogen.

If we managed to find some support of Bacteria on Venus, on Io, on Titan - it would seem likely that our solar system was sprinkled with it.


My final, essential point, is that it really would make sense that we are, as the philosophers and the 'great thinkers' sometimes joke, a giant machine.

We are all just a mechanism made by something greater, made to make ourselves and explore.


-- But what use is exploration, if no one knows about it? If we are a Von Neumann probe, then, what has to be asked, is whether our creators will come for their information one day, or whether they have long gone extinct, and we, our tool, are their remains.

This also raises some other questions - if we could find other solar systems with bacteria nearby, then it could be supposed we are relatively close to the point of origin. If none nearby have any life, then we could just be the lucky lost brothers - stranded in the middle of nowhere.


Thoughts? Opinions? Criticisms? Acclaims?




posted on Dec, 24 2004 @ 11:27 AM
link   

But what use is exploration, if no one knows about it? If we are a Von Neumann probe, then, what has to be asked, is whether our creators will come for their information one day, or whether they have long gone extinct, and we, our tool, are their remains.


Yes, Von Neumann probes should send back information to their creators. It is possible that bacteria lost their sending ability through evolution, but there is no evidence of anything like a radio or laser transmitter to send back the information.

Bacteria also the problem of only being able to replicate in a few environments. Von Neumann probes also have to be able to replicate in solar systems not suitable for life.



posted on Dec, 24 2004 @ 09:08 PM
link   
We currently have deemed Mars unsuitable for life - yet there is currently a chance that atmospheric bacteria still exists there.

All the initial bacteria may need is some form of material and some source of energy - landing on Mars it survives off of the CO2 and minor amounts of Nitrogen, as well as the minimal sunlight.

Landing on an asteroid a looong way off, it would survive on Nickel and Iron deposits, as well as whatever heat or light energy it could gather - it would likely run at an extremely slowed rate to gather far more sunlight and allow it to live.

The idea would be that in 100 systems, there'd be 1 planet where a very simple, VERY adaptable bacterium could manage to evolve beyond single celled organisms, and that out of every 1000 systems or so, a space-faring race would grow, and explore, and leave a minor legacy.

More later - hm, I'd expected more replies. If not complaints, then comments.. Or questions..



posted on Dec, 24 2004 @ 11:29 PM
link   
If you could find a maker's mark it could be proven correct. This might explain molecular 'handedness'.



posted on Dec, 24 2004 @ 11:55 PM
link   
Good topic.

Let's propose that your theory is correct. We humans are the end product of an older-wiser civilization somewhere "out there". This civilization figured out that it would be faster/cheaper to colonize the universe using Von Neumann Probes than any other method. Skiping over the "problem" details of, propulsion, etc. that we dont have the technology to overcome yet.

We are still left with the same problem that caused us to propose the Neumann Probe theory to begin with.

The Fermi Paradox
If there are all these billions of planets in the universe that are capable of supporting life, and millions of intelligent species out there, (as would happen with billions of Neumann Probes introduced into the universe), then where are all the other alien civilizations. Where are the original aliens?

In general, solutions to Fermi's paradox come down to either 1) life is difficult to start and evolve (either hard for the process or hard to find the right conditions) or 2) advanced civilizations destroy themselves on short timescales. In other words, this is an important problem to solve in the hope that it is 1 and not 2.

There is a lot written about this, but I just leave you these 2 links for the moment.

Ref:
Fermi's Paradox.......Where are they?

Persistence solves Fermi Paradox but challenges SETI projects



posted on Dec, 25 2004 @ 01:54 AM
link   
I know quite well about Fermi's paradox.

If my theory is true, then there will be one civilization about 2 Billion years old somewhere far, far away from us, that could be long gone, and about a quadrillion other mini-civilizations all of similar approximate nature to our own civilization. Likely to within 1 million years - but those would have to be the civilizations quite far away from us.

The idea of a naturally evolving cell being a Von Neumann machine is actually more sensible than I'd originally believed.

A common problem with Von Neumann machines is that they could produce too quickly and would become a giant 'pink/grey mass', covering over entire planets and leaving already inhabited planets useless.

Well, we're never going to catch up to our predecessors - unless they're already dead. If they launched simple single celled organisms everywhere, then they posed no threat whatsoever to planets that they already inhabited, but allowed for a slowly developing civilization structure on any planet that they had not yet discovered or that had no life yet.

Perhaps life is a VERY, VERY rare thing in the Universe, and they came to realise it - so they decided to seed life in every direction, hitting two birds with one stone. Now, it is quite common, but we're all at about the same stage - none of us quite able to make contact yet.

-- If this is the situation, by the year 2150 we should be assured some form of contact. By that point, a civilisation with as many set backs as ours, within 1 year of our sort of advancementand 200 light years distance all the way to 200 years advancement and 1 light years distance - would be detectable. Somewhere around the 100 years from us and 100 years away we'll likely find something.

I'm of course no one to make accurate, full predictions - it just seems likely that we will run into someone. I'm optomistic, though. Very optomistic.



posted on Dec, 25 2004 @ 02:21 AM
link   


so they decided to seed life in every direction, hitting two birds with one stone. Now, it is quite common, but we're all at about the same stage - none of us quite able to make contact yet.



there will be one civilization about 2 Billion years old somewhere far, far away from us, that could be long gone, and about a quadrillion other mini-civilizations all of similar approximate nature to our own civilization. Likely to within 1 million years - but those would have to be the civilizations quite far away from us.


Please don't take this wrong, I am not against your theory in general, and perhaps it's just me, but this makes several assumptions I am uncomfortable with.

Indeed, if this 2 billion year old civilization "seeded" the universe, they would likely have done this in a relatively short timespan. That would indicate that the probes reached the habitable planets closer to them sooner than our own, thus negating the premise that we are all at the same stage.

To highlight this problem, let us isolate just one possible planet. Using your own statment, if the closest one to us was 1 million years away, they would have been "seeded" 1 million years sooner than us, and therefore their technology would be 1 million years ahead of ours.

Using this model, that new civilization should have arrived at the technology to visit us, or make their presence known. So that brings us back again to Fermi's paradox. Where are they?

Despite this, I too am optomistic. I don't have the answers. I just cannot bring myself to believe that we are the only form of intelligent life in the entire universe

[edit on 25-12-2004 by makeitso]



posted on Dec, 25 2004 @ 09:26 PM
link   
You've brought up a problem that I saw even while I was typing my last post.

Possible explanations are:

- The Usual Ones (For the Fermi Paradox)
- We're nearby the point of origin - there's no one nearer to the start, yet far enough away that they've been developing that much faster.
- It didn't work as well as they'd hoped.

-- However, you've got to remember that I didn't propose this as a possible explanation for the Fermi Paradox.

... Though, I'm thinking about it, any race that sent us all out with this kind of technology likely would have been spacefaring. If not largely, then on shorter scales. Assuming that other planets have had delays similar to our own, and that we were within about 10,000 years cellular travel (likely around 2,000 light years. Cells are small, they could likely move fast) to the point of origin, then there would be no one within 100 light years of us that would be necessarily detectable. Again, within about 150 years, we'll likely start noticing the dawn of the radio age in fellow seedlings. They won't know about us for 20 more years!

I've always thought it interesting that 4.36 LY is the distance to Alpha Centauri, that about 1900 (large earth radio bubble era begins) + about 20 years to make a small fleet + 30 years to travel (14.5% of the speed of light - I'm putting them a long way ahead of us) = 1947-53 era, and the big UFO dawn. But that doesn't really work with what I'm talking about here- I'm just rambling now.

In the end - this doesn't solve Fermi's Paradox, but it is an interesting idea - that we are the tool of another civilization.



new topics

top topics



 
0

log in

join