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Proceedings Paper

Cosmological evolution: spatial relativity and the speed of life
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Paper Abstract

Three recent discoveries support the existence of an extra-planetary, cometary biosphere that is capable of spanning the galaxy: 1) the discovery of ancient cyanobacterial fossils on carbonaceous chondrites, which are widely believed to be extinct comets, 2) the observations and theory that all short-period comets have irreversibly differentiated by melting and undergo periodic remeltings, and, 3) the observation that comets can accrete inner solar-system material, including spores from other infected comets. While no direct observation of sub-cellular, fossilized viruses exist, their ubiquity and proximity with cyanobacteria suggest that the proposed cometary biosphere also carries a full complement of bacteriophages. Recent work transcribing viral DNA of bacteriophages reveals an active horizontal transfer of genes though a vector that doesn't itself benefit from the genes. Thus the cometary biosphere is capable of transporting genes throughout the galaxy that are not themselves expressed in space, suggesting that evolution may occur not just in time, but in space as well, making the Earth and its history less significant for a cosmological theory of evolution. That is, evolution is driven not by innovation, but by communication, albeit at a slow cometary speed and the transfer of a life ecosystem through a low bitrate channel can be modelled as a bootstrap process. Thus cometary evolution suggests that the history of earth represents the spatial relativity of a bootstrap process at the speed of life.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 2008
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 7097, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI, 709716 (28 August 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.802195
Show Author Affiliations
Robert B. Sheldon, USRA/NSSTC (United States)
Richard B. Hoover, NASA/MSFC/NSSTC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7097:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert Victor Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C.W. Davies, Editor(s)

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