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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Biology of other Earths
Biology of other Earths
lupusDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 07:21 | Message # 1
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Hello. Is anyone else bothered by difficulties that may be met by future pioneers on even Earth-like planets? I'm talking about unicellular life.

I believe that humans should improve their own biology to safely reach the stars. Given the vast diversity of microbial life on Earth, we literally have no idea what biochemistry may we encouter on other worlds. Scientific knowledge about life is still very limited - we can't even get over simple genetic modifications in GMO crops, debating over and over again how catastrophic it is.
Humans often can't defend themselves from Earthborne microbials, even with years of studying them. And rememb er how screwed we are because of developing antibiotic resistance. In my opinion, microbiology should make a gigantic leap to even start thinking about colonizing other Earths. We need an absolutely universal system of principles how life works, not bound by terran biochemistry. I wonder how this could be achieved, as DNA may be something exclusive to our planet and other organisme may store their information with other chemicals. This is all within carbon based lifeforms, so please don't direct me to Wiki page about extraterrestrial biochemistry, been here smile
And I wonder, how humans could be resistant to alien microbials? How could we set foot on other Earth without an instant contamination caused by different biochemistries? I'm thinking about something like super immunologic system, able to adapt in matter of hours. Or maybe universal vaccines, but I have no idea, because we can't expect the alien life even on Earth-like planets will be compatible with ours in any ratio. All our medicine and biotechnology may fail upon landing.
Discuss! wink
 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 07:35 | Message # 2
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Quote lupus ()
All our medicine and biotechnology may fail upon landing.


Nanobots capable of using basic molecules and atoms to build whatever they need. Replace all cells in human body with nanobots and you could eat a rock and get nutrients out of it.

Nanobots will literally solve every problem we face for colonizing space.





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lupusDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 07:47 | Message # 3
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Biomass, not rocks smile silica is a bad nutrient....

Nanobots are a little bit too much "magic science" for me. Are there any interesting ideas on them? Eg. how would they be controlled?
 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 07:53 | Message # 4
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Quote lupus ()
Are there any interesting ideas on them? Eg. how would they be controlled?


Initial artificial cells or nanobots will most likely be like our own cells and function purely on chemical signals. Future nanobots will probably be cloud intelligence linked with the brain, and far future may be swarm/cloud intelligence.

Quote lupus ()
Biomass, not rocks smile silica is a bad nutrient....


With nanobots it wouldn't matter what materials you ingest. The small machines would be able to take it apart piece by piece and build other useful materials out of it.





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lupusDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 08:10 | Message # 5
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With nanobots it wouldn't matter what materials you ingest. The small machines would be able to take it apart piece by piece and build other useful materials out of it.


It would, unless the bots would be capable of manipulating subatonic particles to make desired atoms. I think it's impossible due to amounts of energy needed. Manipulation of atoms sound reasonable, as chemical bonds are far easier to break than nuclei smile That was what I meant about silica, if you can't turn elements into other elements you would still need C, H, O, P, N to feed humans.
 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 08:27 | Message # 6
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Quote lupus ()
to feed humans.


This is assuming humans remain roughly the same as they are today. This will probably not be the case within this century or the next. Artificial or synthetic humans will probably need mainly carbon, hydrogen, silicon, and some metals. Hard to predict but I suspect it will be similar to what modern computers are made of or what future computer systems will be made of.





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lupusDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 08:31 | Message # 7
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Sounds reasonable, although I still feel sentiment to my obsolete protein structure wink
 
MackTuesdayDate: Friday, 28.11.2014, 16:26 | Message # 8
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With nanobots it wouldn't matter what materials you ingest. The small machines would be able to take it apart piece by piece and build other useful materials out of it.


One problem I see with nanobots is thermodynamics. Breaking silicate ions apart is expensive. I think it starts to be a Maxwell's Demon kind of question, unless nanobots can act like a sort of programmable catalyst. The best Earth life has been able to do AFAIK is one protein per reaction type -- nothing programmable.

Also, they need manipulators that are strong enough to do the prying. Diamond might do it but I'll bet the terminal carbons on the surface of the crystal don't enjoy the same stability that internal ones do. So who knows.

Of course I am talking out of my ass.
 
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