ICCS2004 Application Submission/Review

Abstract for
"Using Systems Isomorphies to Explore the Feasibility of Giant Planet, Wetlab, Origins of Life Simulations"


This poster will present an unorthodox possibility for the origins of life based on perhaps the most common astronomical body in the universe, usually thought incapable of supporting life -- confirmed reports of giant planets outside of our solar system. It will present the arguments for and against non-carbon-based life forms and suggest how we could test for complex macromolecules and chemical contexts quite foreign to earth experiences. This topic is firmly grounded in research on complex systems because it posits that the relationships between our common carbon forms and their key solvent, water, can be imitated, systems relationship for systems relationship, by wholly different combinations of non-carbon chemistries and solvents at very high, non-terran temperatures and pressures. These extreme environments would render our life systems completely non-functional, but could reasonably be expected to make components that do not participate in life at minimal terran temperatures and pressures capable of complex life-systems mechanisms on giant planets. While entirely different in specifics from our life forms and components, these non-terran systems would be isomorphic to ours in general systems processes. These similarities enable our prediction of key components, forms, and interactions. Some tools from systems theory (suggested earlier by the inimitable Fritz Zwicky) will be cited that might allow modeling, simulation, and wetlab testing of these non-carbon chemistries in our high tech engineering and robotics labs. The systems tools would reduce the search time needed to explore the vast potential space of chemical combinations, solvents, and energy sources offered by giant planets for non-terran origins of complex chemicals and thus life. While unconventional, these simulations are needed to complement the highly focused assumptions and presumption of current attempts to find life by searching only for carbon-based organics and water in our space exploration. We may simply be missing important signals because of our history of anthropocentrism.