November 25, 2012 – On Earth life is organic. It is composed of organic molecules, which are simply the compounds of carbon, excluding carbonates and carbon dioxide. However, physicists believe it is quite possible there could be inorganic lifeforms in the Universe too!
In 1959, renowned Cambridge astronomer and cosmologist Fred Hoyle published his fascinating sci-fi book The Black Cloud.
It is a must read for everyone who enjoys ‘hard’ science-fiction. In his book, Hoyle describes what happens when a group of scientists begin tracking the arrival of an enormous cloud of gas that enters the solar system and threatens to destroy most of the life on Earth by blocking the Sun’s radiation.
A closer examination of the Black Cloud reveals it is in fact a superorganism, many times more intelligent than humans, which in return is surprised to find intelligent life-forms on a solid planet.
When the astronomers ask the cloud how its lifeform originated, it replies that they have always existed.
This brings us to the possibility that such complex life-forms could actually exist not only in scien fiction but in reality as well.
In his essay, “Is Life Analog or Digital?” Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies suggests that “an analog form of life, such as Hoyle’s black cloud, adapts better to low temperatures, because a cloud with a fixed number of grains can expand its memory without limit by increasing its linear scale.”
“It derives its energy from gravitation or starlight, and acquires chemical nutrients from the naturally occurring interstellar dust.
It is held together by electric and magnetic interactions between neighboring grains. Instead of having a nervous system or a wiring system, it has a network of long-range electromagnetic signals that transmit information and coordinate its activities.
Like silicon-based life and unlike water-based life, the Black Cloud can adapt to arbitrarily low temperatures.
Its demand for energy will diminish as the temperature goes down,” Dyson writes.
In essence, “complex self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter that may exist in space provided certain conditions allow them to evolve naturally” and we cannot dismiss the possibility that plasma aliens could really exists in particles of interstellar dust that often obscures giant molecular clouds.
Extraterrestrial life can be stranger than we even dare to imagine.
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