[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: starship-design: Alien life

bfranchuk wrote:

> "Kyle R. Mcallister" wrote:
> >
> > SSD:
> >
> > On the subject of contamination by alien life, we can only speculate.
> > But we can attempt to make 'educated guesses' and define safety
> > precautions. I have been thinking long about this subject, and I think
> > it will be a much more dangerous problem than we think.

Strangeness may not be most dangerous. The most dangerous might be
alien life closest to ours. Acute awareness of this principle comes from
my diagnosis 30 days ago with mantle cell lymphoma.

> Let us first
> > consider what life is: must it be carbon based? Could it be silicon,
> > boron, or tungsten based? Well, that depends on what you call life. Only
> > carbon seems able to make well workable amino acids, but what of the
> > possibility of life that does not use amino acids, or enzymes? Something
> > truly alien to anything we have previously encountered. On an earthlike
> > planet, or something similar, life will probably be similar to earth
> > life, at least in the use of DNA

DNA now is definitely wilder guess. There might be a zillion molecular
structures which can record and replicate data. Proteins can.

> or carbon based amino acids.

I find carbon life may be  more probable than other elemental bases for
life, due to its easy formation of complex structure on the molecular level.
Structure at this level enables the creation of voids in the material which
may enclose negative entropy zones, as life takes advantage of energy
flux to pump out entropy. Most likely carbon.

> This life
> > would not pose a serious threat since it was not adapted to human
> > proteins. However, as has been pointed out, precautions must be taken in
> > the off chance they could infect humans. But now consider life existing
> > in an extremely hostile environment.

The liquid water temperature / pressure range again has a vast probability
advantage. Like carbon, water is ubiquitous in space. This temperature
zone is very mild and kind to microstructures, particularly, need I add,
of carbon. That molecular water and relatively free carbon can be found
together on the arbitrary planet is a good probability. That this water
happens to be in the liquid temperature zone would boost the chances
for life, and after life is established it may thermoregulate the planet
surface to maintain this temperature zone.

> There are those who believe life
> > would never exist in an inhospitable environment, but that fact it made
> > moot by studying life here on earth. Any lifeforms that exist on a
> > hostile world would likely have to survive on nearly anything. As such,
> > they could prove to be incredibly dangerous to humans.

Prions are protein entities. They are incredibly dangerous to humans.
Mad cow disease. Kwashiorkor. They contain no nucleic acids.

> Something like
> > the 'andromeda strain,' but possibly much worse. Decon procedures should
> > be carried out when landing on any world, not just earthlike ones.
> >
> > Kyle R. Mcallister
>      I think the only real danger is the upright creatures with big
> brains
> and low wisdom. Any other life that could of floated in like the
> 'andromeda strain,'
> would of happened allready. The real danger things that are slightly
> harmfull
> that could be a big pain.... take rabbits in australia for example...
> remember
> the tribbles and captain kirk....
> Ben.

Prions are not life, yet they are self-replicating disease agents.
This example raises the probability that arbitrary carbon structures
may be a biohazard. It's a jungle out there.

Johnny Thunderbird
MCL page: http://www.geocities.com/~jthunderbird/mantle