All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there.
March 26, 2009 9:39 PM Subscribe
Are plasma crystals alive? Cosmic dust can, in the presence of plasma, creates formations known as plasma crystals. An international team of researchers published a study in the Aug.14, 2007, issue of the New Journal of Physics (PDF here, abstract here) that indicates that these crystals may be more sophisticated than anyone realized. In simulations involving cosmic dust, the researchers witnessed the formation of plasma crystals displaying some of the elementary characteristics of life -- DNA-like structure, autonomous behavior, reproduction and evolution.Could extraterrestrial life be made of corkscrew-shaped particles of interstellar dust? Intriguing new (circa 2007) evidence of life-like structures that form from inorganic substances in space have been revealed in the New Journal of Physics. The findings hint at the possibility that life beyond earth may not necessarily use carbon-based molecules as its building blocks. They also point to a possible new explanation for the origin of life on earth.
posted by KokuRyu (48 comments total)
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The concept of interstellar dust-based life was described in the 1957 SF book, The Black Cloud
, by Fred Hoyle. Hoyle was also responsible for the term Big Bang, though Hoyle himself did not believe the Big Bang theory. In an ironic plot twist that would foreshadow Hoyle's stance on panspermia (more here and here), the cloud expresses surprise that intelligent life is capable of forming on planets.