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Credible Scientists Devise Mathematic Theory Leading to Panspermia - Pockets of Life Prevail

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posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 03:50 AM
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Artist's conception courtesy of NASA/JPL of our Milky Way galaxy based on theory of Panspermia discussed below. The green bubbles indicate areas where life has spread beyond its home star system to create pockets of life spanning thousands of light years.

Panspermia is a fun theory involving the spreading of life from planet to planet or even star system to stars system. It has most often been discussed on ATS with regards to extremely dubious claims from a certain researcher who I will not mention so as to stay on topic.

However, what mathematical support do such theories actually have in reality? Could interstellar panspermia be a reality?

According to researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, not only could interstellar panspermia exist, but if it does we may be able to observe evidence of it in the years ahead as new telescopes fine-tuned for searching for tale tell signs of life in the atmospheres of exoplanets, come online.

Panspermia long a scenario of sci-fi might in fact be science fact according to their model.

And it doesn't seem to matter if the life in question spreads by starships full of Klingons or microbes clinging on to an asteroid. The same patterns persist.


From the article: Life Might Spread Across Universe Like an 'Epidemic' in New Math Theory - Space.com


As astronomers get closer to finding potential signatures of life on faraway planets, a new mathematical description shows how to understand life's spread — and to determine if it's jumping from star to star.

If life arose on other planets, did it spontaneously grow from raw materials every time? Or did it dart from planet to planet and star to star, spreading across the universe? Telltale mathematical patterns of where life signatures appear could reveal the answer, authors of the new research said.

"Life could spread from host star to host star in a pattern similar to the outbreak of an epidemic," study co-author Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) said in a statement. "In a sense, the Milky Way galaxy would become infected with pockets of life."


This is a nice idea which has been around a long time. But what separates nice ideas from things of scientific interest?

Testability.

So how would we know if our Milky Way galaxy is full of these pockets of life?


In our theory, clusters of life form, grow and overlap like bubbles in a pot of boiling water," the study's lead author Henry Lin, also at CfA, said in the same statement. With that kind of growth, life would fill the universe much more quickly than if it arose only through spontaneous development.

As telescopes increase in power and researchers learn more about the substances and conditions, spotted from afar, that would herald extraterrestrial life, scientists get closer to potentially identifying such signs of life on other planets. And if life appears in distinct clusters that contain many different stars, it makes it much more likely that organisms can proliferate across the galaxy.

The tricky part is identifying those patterns while embedded inside them, only able to see a certain selection of stars. According to the new research, humans could get lucky and be on the edge of a bubble of life; if that were the case, astronomers would glimpse many instances of life on one side of Earth, and few to none on the other. It would be clear that life is spreading instead of growing spontaneously each time. But even if Earth was in a less favorable location, statistical analysis of the life-filled spots discovered could still reveal the characteristic pattern.


And so now it is just a matter of building and/or launching the right telescopes to begin looking for biosignatures, those chemical markers in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, which would be strong evidence in support of life on that world. The good news is we're only a few years from launching the James Webb Space Telescope which will be the first instrument with the capability to look for these biosignatures.

The moment the first exoplanet is found to have strong evidence of life existing on it, then the real race will take off to prove or disprove panspermia. If we find lots of planets with life in only one direction then we might be on the edge of the bubble. If we find planets with life in every direction we might be towards the center of one, or the galaxy is completely teaming with life. If we look in every direction and find little or no life then evidence supporting interstellar panspermia might not exist, at least in our part of the galaxy within the instruments limits of biosignature detection at that moment.

Continuing….



The transfer of life from star to star, through a species' exploration or by natural events in the galaxy, would drastically speed up the transition from an empty galaxy to a life-filled one, the researchers said in the paper. Then, it might be only a matter of time before humans ran up against something otherworldly.


And of course on ATS there are those who allege we already have.


In any event, if you are interested in the question of life in the universe you have plenty of company among some of the smartest people in the world.


The research was recently accepted for publication by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.


That paper in full: Statistical Signatures of Panspermia in Exoplanet Surveys Henry W. Lin, Abraham Loeb. - Astrophysical Journal Letters - ArXiv




posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 03:59 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Well, at least it is somewhat testable. More so than string "theory" anyway (how does that qualify as a theory)?

But if and when we do find any form of life elsewhere, and its distribution fit the model it would indeed support the hypothesis. Equally, if no particular distribution is found, if life is just everywhere (or here and there) it would nullify the hypothesis. A hypothesis which can be both demonstrated and falsified, is a cool thing.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:14 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known Carl Sagan.

"Well I don't know Sparks.....But, if it is just us, it seems like an awful waste of space"

Thanks JadeStar (Sparks), I adore the great unknown.




posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:22 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Is it so surprising really?

Panspermia might not have happened here on the Earth but life exist everywhere. It's in the mathematics.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:23 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: JadeStar

Well, at least it is somewhat testable. More so than string "theory" anyway (how does that qualify as a theory)?


ikr?

I liked the idea of panspermia but often thought that the only way to prove it would be to actually have a physical specimen of some otherworldly life to test for RNA, DNA and the chirality thereof.

What I absolutely *love* about their model/simulation is that it provides a way to test Panspermia without ever setting foot (or wheel) on another world.

Meaning, it's something we might be able to have answers on in a lot shorter time than it will take for humanity to reach the stars.



But if and when we do find any form of life elsewhere, and its distribution fit the model it would indeed support the hypothesis. Equally, if no particular distribution is found, if life is just everywhere (or here and there) it would nullify the hypothesis. A hypothesis which can be both demonstrated and falsified, is a cool thing.


Beyond cool, it is a beautiful thing. ♥


edit on 9-9-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:23 AM
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a reply to: Phage

I am a big whatiffer, so here it goes,
what if, this planet is the very first one, to develop more complex or advanced lifeforms, you know, other than microbes and such, this would mean that this is the jackpot, and we have already started to seed the rest of space by shooting rockets, and whatnot in outer space, what kind of bio-material have we already sent there?, new horizons for example,
What if billions of planets will have advanced beings, in the future, and it all started from here,
that would explain, why we have not found anything yet.

Also, we are looking for life, that we can recognize, the classical building blocks of life, but there is the possibility that different things form different kind of life, maybe gas-based or even light- based lifeforms.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:24 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

So... The galactic Petri dish eh?

And like a Petri dish, it will shortly be placed under the microscope, in the shape of the James Webb telescope, amongst other projects and apparatus to be tasked with peering into the grand depths of space, to see what remains to be seen.

The idea of Panspermia has always been one which inspires the imagination, and I will be very interested to see if time brings the idea out of the realm of possibility, and into the dominion of fact. There is a long way to go yet however, before any evidence found for the existence of life out in the wider cosmos, can be translated into certainty, and no amount of telescopes and long distance examination is up to the task of hard confirmation in my view. Only up close observation of any tasty looking targets thrown up by the JWST and others, will provide that, and in typically shortsighted fashion, those with the money and clout to see propulsion shoved, kicking and screaming out of the plodding, frankly pathetic era it is in now, and into the realms of interstellar capability of actual merit, will be unwilling to plough resources into upgrading the pace at which we can reach objects of interest, until they have actually been located.

Still... Until the money gets where it needs to be, and until the space telescopes get set up, there will always be room for imagination. For that, I have to be grateful!



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:25 AM
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originally posted by: Deaf Alien
a reply to: JadeStar

Is it so surprising really?

Panspermia might not have happened here on the Earth but life exist everywhere. It's in the mathematics.



Life existing would not surprise me but until this research in the OP, evidence for interstellar panspermia would have surprised me.

Now not so much. It will still be remarkable if found to exist! But it is no longer surprising as there is actual math behind the theory and a way to test it even!



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:29 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Before anyone flame me I think that the universe and life follow mathematics. Yes I even think "intelligent design" is based on that. It's not intelligent but more like oh how do I put it? It's just that it goes by mathematics. Too hard to explain when I am drunk.

Sorry what I mean life will happen no matter what. By cause or effect? No matter. Life will happen regardless.
edit on 9/9/2015 by Deaf Alien because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:37 AM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: JadeStar

So... The galactic Petri dish eh?


Yep one in which our solar system takes 225 million years to move orbit out here around the center of it.


And like a Petri dish, it will shortly be placed under the microscope, in the shape of the James Webb telescope, amongst other projects and apparatus to be tasked with peering into the grand depths of space, to see what remains to be seen.


Yes, and "you lot" over there in the UK have your own clever mission called TWINKLE which will help in the search as well.




The idea of Panspermia has always been one which inspires the imagination, and I will be very interested to see if time brings the idea out of the realm of possibility, and into the dominion of fact. There is a long way to go yet however, before any evidence found for the existence of life out in the wider cosmos, can be translated into certainty, and no amount of telescopes and long distance examination is up to the task of hard confirmation in my view. Only up close observation of any tasty looking targets thrown up by the JWST and others, will provide that, and in typically shortsighted fashion, those with the money and clout to see propulsion shoved, kicking and screaming out of the plodding, frankly pathetic era it is in now, and into the realms of interstellar capability of actual merit, will be unwilling to plough resources into upgrading the pace at which we can reach objects of interest, until they have actually been located.



One of the best things that is going on right now in the interim between the discover of exoplanets and their detailed characterization is a lot of work to predict and formulate things we should look for with the new instruments of the next decade and those beyond.

Like you said, nothing is assured. We hope mother nature is kind and we have at least some nearby microbial company we can detect but if we don't the search will continue.

It's like planning for a dinner party. You hope it was worth it so you plan. And you do that so you do not under prepare and not have enough food for everyone (or in this case the right instruments with the right capabilities, sensitivity at the right wavelengths) and you hope you don't over prepare (in this case have great instruments capable of finding what you want to look for but without tangible ideas of how to specifically look).



Still... Until the money gets where it needs to be, and until the space telescopes get set up, there will always be room for imagination. For that, I have to be grateful!


Me too. Imagination is the spark of innovation and creativity is the fuel of discovery.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:39 AM
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originally posted by: Deaf Alien
a reply to: JadeStar

Before anyone flame me I think that the universe and life follow mathematics. Yes I even think "intelligent design" is based on that. It's not intelligent but more like oh how do I put it? It's just that it goes by mathematics. Too hard to explain when I am drunk.


Since all matter has a mathematical foundation for its existence you would be right at least at a very fundamental level.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:41 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar




What I absolutely *love* about their model/simulation is that it provides a way to test Panspermia without ever setting foot (or wheel) on another world.

I guess. But you do have to determine that there is life there. If the hypothesis is to be demonstrated, that determination would need to be very strong. I'm not sure that it can be done at this distances required. We may be able, at some point, to make reasonable strong assumptions "nearby" but to falsify the hypothesis we would have to be able to find the limits of the bubble and say, "nope, no life there." Tough thing to do.

Falsification would mean finding the edge(s) of life. Without that you can't say that life doesn't start independently, anywhere.

edit on 9/9/2015 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:41 AM
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originally posted by: Sublimecraft
a reply to: JadeStar

Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known Carl Sagan.

"Well I don't know Sparks.....But, if it is just us, it seems like an awful waste of space"

Thanks JadeStar (Sparks), I adore the great unknown.



You're welcome, great quotes by the way.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:44 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar



Since all matter has a mathematical foundation for its existence you would be right at least at a very fundamental level.


Oh yeah I am glad you understand my point. The very foundation is what made life happen. This is what they mean by ID. Sighs I won't get too involved into metaphysics or anything. I'll just leave it at that.

But yes. Mathematics is UNDER quantum mechanics and physics.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:46 AM
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a reply to: Deaf Alien

If I read you right, you believe that everything in the universe is laid out according to a fantastically complicated collection of mathematical principles, which, together, form a trackable blueprint that we could be using to make educated guesses about the things we cannot yet confirm, that we wonder about, with regard to the universe and its construction.

I think the crucial thing here, is to recognise that you are probably right, but that without being able to confirm a certain percentage of the possible implications of that suggestion, it will be impossible to find the edges of that blueprint.

The way I understand it, we know less than diddly squat in comparison to what we would need to know, in order to make use of the implications of the possibility that you posit. As valid as I am sure the idea is, we lack the certainty necessary to act on or follow that blueprint with confidence, and only exploration of at least our galaxy, which is one amongst myriads of them in the known universe, can allow that confirmation, and even then, some wiggle room will be left.

It is often said, although I am sure it is somewhat of an overstatement, that we know more about outer space, than we do about the contents of our own oceans here on Earth. Although I disagree with the rigid fact of that statement, the origins of it are similar to the origins of the trouble with your blueprint theory. Until we lay eyes on it, we cannot know it, only surmise it, no matter how well the mathematical principles we work to seem to hold up so far.

Our own world surprises us constantly, new lifeforms being found in extreme environs, previously assumed to be lifeless, in airless, or lightless, or heavily irradiated areas, and even in or very near to outrageously hot lava flows. The fact that our own environment here on planet Earth, has yet to yield all its secrets, suggests to me that the task of understanding the blueprint which governs the whole universe in totality, with any degree of accuracy, will be one not completed for eons. My hope however, is that human kind remain a going concern long enough to know for certain, that which we can only dream of now.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:53 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit



If I read you right, you believe that everything in the universe is laid out according to a fantastically complicated collection of mathematical principles, which, together, form a trackable blueprint that we could be using to make educated guesses about the things we cannot yet confirm, that we wonder about, with regard to the universe and its construction.


And yet the science follow the mathematical principles and laws. Can something exist that violate a mathematical reality?

[edit] sorry I got hypnotized by your avatar of youself drinking. I will try to answer the answer the rest of your post.
edit on 9/9/2015 by Deaf Alien because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:55 AM
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a reply to: Deaf Alien
Mathematics are a human construct which is can be useful in describing aspects of "reality." They are not reality.

Does the square root of negative one exist? Is there anything real about it?
edit on 9/9/2015 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:56 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: JadeStar




What I absolutely *love* about their model/simulation is that it provides a way to test Panspermia without ever setting foot (or wheel) on another world.

I guess. But you do have to determine that there is life there.


Which could be done spectroscopically.



If the hypothesis is to be demonstrated, that determination would need to be very strong.


Of course.

I think the detection of life on another world around another star will not be based on one or two biomarkers but a wealth of information collected of many years, maybe even decades about not just the planet but the star it orbits. It won't be one big Eureka! moment it will be a cascade of new information which supports the life model as abiotic explanations are ruled out.

Life will be discovered therefore through a preponderance of evidence (interesting atmospheric chemistry, glint of planetary ocean detected, spectra of vegetation corresponding with the predicted color based on the the type and class of star the planet orbits).

It won't be just one or two things. Because those one or two things will be debated (as it should be) until there is further evidence in support of or refuting the planet having life.



I'm not sure that it can be done at this distances required. We may be able, at some point, to make reasonable strong assumptions "nearby" but to falsify the hypothesis we would have to be able to find the limits of the bubble and say, "nope, no life there." Tough thing to do.


I'm pouring through the paper before bed but from what I can tell we'd have to be right on the edge of the bubble to definitively say anything in support of the theory and who knows what the likelihood of that is?



Falsification would mean finding the edge(s) of life. Without that you can't say that life doesn't start independently, anywhere.


Agreed.

Even if we are the edge.



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:57 AM
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a reply to: Phage



Mathematics are a human construct which is can be useful in describing aspects of "reality."


Is 2 + 2 = 5 possible in any reality?



posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 05:00 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Which could be done spectroscopically.
As I said, reasonable assumptions could be made.


I'm pouring through the paper before bed but from what I can tell we'd have to be right on the edge of the bubble to definitively say anything in support of the theory and who knows what the likelihood of that is?
Ah, of course. And, obviously, the density of the bubble would also have to be considered in the analysis.



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