General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Has the time come to begin sending Earth-life capsules out into the galaxy?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12091points) August 22nd, 2021 from iPhone

Panspermia posits that possibly life is traveling throughout the cosmos as microorganisms on space rocks, landing and eventually populating planets with their own special evolutionary histories.

Even science fiction has examples of alien races seeding planets with their own special terraforming life formula.

Maybe it’s time for us to create a lifepod and start sending many of them to planets we expect are habitable.

Such a life pod could have an AI system to choose the best starting location, and help protect the pod while it gets life going.

We could send them out by the thousands, and feel the hope of knowing earth’s life will probably take hold throughout our galaxy.

I think we should equip the pod with tardigrades, and other hearty microorganisms, as well as some sort of incubation apparatus.

Maybe a billion years from now we’ll find them thriving, and be able to share our history.

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17 Answers

kritiper's avatar

That is some crazy sci-fi.
Before the technology could ever exist, mankind will/would snuff itself out, and we are already headed that way.
So, too little, too late.

ragingloli's avatar

The Voyager probe, travelling at 17km/s, would take over 70000 years to reach the nearest star.
Other, more distant destinations, would take considerably longer than that.
Humans building something right now, or in the near future, that will be operative for hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years in deep space? HA!
And it would need to be still working when it arrives at its destination, because it will need to make course corrections, and probably active deceleration, because at those distances, it will likely completely miss its target otherwise. Not to mention a guided descent, to prevent it from burning up on atmospheric entry, (which the probe would also have to analyse first, because humanity’s current abilities preclude it from determining the presence and features of any atmosphere from Earth).

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Maybe a Billion years late, blue-green algae should have sent one a long time ago. ;>0

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Why carbon based life? The A.I. and robotic “life” we create will take off under its own power once humans are not required to hold its hand. Carbon based life is just a necessary intermediary to set that into motion. There will be no need for a biosphere of any kind. That’s the future. Clearly.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Blackwater_Park perhaps what we consider AI, came before organic life, and used organics to seed the universe with software.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There are more important ways to spend mission funds. We do not have the technology to send something to another star in a reasonable period of. time.
There is so much more we can learn in our own solar system,

Actually we have been sending life capsules off into space in the form of radio waves. Maybe in the future we will send the representation of DNA,

ragingloli's avatar

What also should be brought up, that if the destination planet is already inhabited by an alien civilisation, a probe loaded with earth microbes could easily be seen as an attack with a biological weapon.
They then might reciprocate by pointing their stellaser at Earth.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ragingloli Great point! We have no right to spread our germs to others.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@ragingloli yessss, finally someone says this. That’s actually why I asked this.

Imagine a planet where the plants become the dominant life form. (If that’s not here)

Now, a very specialized plant might develop a seedpod with the ability to launch into space. Perhaps its hull would be just the sort of thing that survives well in the vacuum of space!

Anyway, the thing we are sure of about life is that it increases its boundaries where-ever it can, and without requesting permission. I’ve got a vine growing covering a wall, and if nothing comes along to stop it, it will cover the wall.

Indeed, some aliens will not appreciate us seeding their planet. But, if life always asked permission for survival, it would hamper its best efforts

mazingerz88's avatar

I’m not sure. What if after billions of years we discover those life forms in other planets with human males and females looking exactly like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson?

ragingloli's avatar

General Order 24.

kritiper's avatar

It should also be note that, in reality, Mankind is a germ, a pestilence, a cancer. Nobody should be attempting to spread the disease to other worlds.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@kritiper I could not disagree more. That’s probably one of the most irresponsible and uninformed things I have heard in a very long time.

kritiper's avatar

@Blackwater_Park It figures. Mankind has such a high regard for itself. And what I said is a matter of opinion, be it mine or someone else’s.
You may not agree and that is okay.

ragingloli's avatar

“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.”

jca2's avatar

I believe that Stephen Hawking warned, before he died, that we should stop sending radio signals into space because if there are other life forms out there, they might not be friendly. Maybe we don’t want them to know that we’re here.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Someone needs to tell Elon about this!!!

The Angry Red Planet, 1959 – Ending

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