I’ve decided to shift from a dash “-“ to a tilde “~” in my titles, I doubt this concerns you but I was noticing that Windows Live Writer was converting the dash into some horrible monster that was obliterating hyperlinks.
With that out of the way lets talk about the concept of Panspermia, it is arguably one of my favorite theories on life and one I don’t think is exclusive (nor could it be). The idea is that life on a certain planet, in many cases Earth, actually came from a meteor that crashed into the surface of the Earth carrying bacteria. Bacteria as you may know can survive in extreme environments, cold temperatures that would kill humans in a matter of minutes and temperatures hot enough to fry you like a slab of bacon.
They can exist in regions completely absent of oxygen or even in environments of extremely powerful toxins. Acids that melt flesh and even radiation that jumbles DNA. Bacteria known as Extremophiles can truly stretch the boundaries of what we commonly consider the “goldilocks zone”. If you took a struggling bacteria on a moon or barren planet and via collisions or catastrophic events launched it on the side of a piece of debris throughout space it could, eventually, land on another planet where it would more easily flourish.
That flourishing ends up moving exponentially over time, once the species splits (which is fairly common especially with something as rapidly reproducing as a bacteria, and on the geological scale macro level evolution is very rapid) those two species will carry off and split themselves. Before you know it, again geologically speaking, you have a planet engrossed in life.
I may be overstretching my bounds but this theory is much more active in my mind than might be initially conceived. I am of the impression that the amount of space debris carrying the keystones for a fully furnished planet are quite numerous. The entire universe is full of planets that are just waiting for the perfect opportunist organism to flourish on them. Life in ways that we can barely comprehend, a hundred times more wild than the furnace dwellers at the bottom of the ocean.
The kind of things that are many times stranger than any science fiction film, and likely much less predictable and boring. If you figure on our planet alone we have life living in basically every possible combination of previously perceived as unlivable situations, extreme heat, extreme cold, hypoxic [this in particular is ravaging the oceans around industrial nations], and even pools of toxic ooze that kill larger animals within moments of touching them. and even one organism is known to live quite happily in arsenic.
We’ve carried life up on the outsides of rockets into space, even something as large as the water bear has lived fairly well in the extremely diabolical environment of unprotected space. While is unlikely you’ll find something as large as a human prancing around in the clouds of Jupiter, something much smaller and much more well equipped may be dining on the dense composition of the atmosphere. If not there than something more extreme living in the liquid surface, probably small but quite pleased with itself (if such a feeling could be had by a microbe).
“Girl, look at that body. I work out.”
It will be much better for us to find life in places that would end us without effort, these things are unlikely to survive within or around us and should be rather harmless as would we to them. The exception would be any contaminates we bring or they possess that have a range of survival large enough to actually survive that crucial timeframe. What timeframe am I speaking of? Quite simply the length of time necessary to reproduce at least once.
If the sampling size of life is too small this won’t be enough either, there is actually a threshold which basically guarantees extinction of a species when it goes beneath that line. If humanity were cut down to a single man and woman for instance there is absolutely no chance for it to survive. The damage from incest and persistence of genetic defects would lead to some terrible problems and the species would likely be offed by nothing more than the environment and time, if not predators. [But don’t let that stop folks from being chill with the idea.]
It is this reason that I would hazard that the absolute worst thing we could ever do as a species is to try and inhabit a planet that already is gravy for us. I believe I’ve discussed that before but if we were to start living in such a place we’d quickly find ourselves the universes to things much more prone to expansion and conquering than we in our prime.
I’m all for life jumping from planet to planet, a universe of stones bouncing, and perhaps even life being rocketed into space as a star dies and shatters the surrounding planets that it once warmed and nurtured. But I would hate to see the first dreams of life in space ruptured by a colony of humans becoming the galaxy that is destroyed by the cosmic equivalent to small pox.
A similar notion is when animal diseases actually manage to survive in humans, the result tends to be much worse than anything humans pass from one another. There is a simple reason for this, bacteria keep their host (by necessity) alive long enough for them to pass to another host. This is a parasitic version of the timeframe mentioned earlier.
However when a bacteria ends up in an environment that it can thrive in but is unfamiliar with it is very likely to overgrow and outright kill the host. It’s unfortunate for both the host and the colony that missed your dog by this much.
This is also another good reason to kill mosquitos, those little bastards are the meteors spreading terrible shit all over the planet right now. We need to start up a real life game of asteroids and blow the little bastards out of the sky.
Did I mention I don’t appreciate all life? I think I did.