When looking for signs of life in the Universe, we look for the most specific things based on what we know: an Earth-like planet, orbiting a star, and the distance that liquid surface water allows. But, there may be other forms of life that do not look like anything we could have imagined.
Just as we have Extremobiles on Earth – creatures that live in the most intense and invisible environment the planet has to offer – so there could be extremists in the vast universe.
For example, species that can develop, evolve, and thrive in the interiors of stars. According to new research by physicists Louis Angertoki And Eugene Sutnovsky At New York City University, such a thing is actually – imaginary, at least – possible.
It all depends on how you define life. If the main criteria are the ability to encrypt information and the ability to self-copy that information faster than carriers decompose, then fantasy Monopole particles Threaded in cosmic strings – cosmic necklaces – can form the basis of life within stars, while DNA and RNA form the basis of life on Earth.
“The information stored in RNA (or DNA) encodes the mechanism for self-reflection,” Sudnovsky told ScienceAlert.
“It must have preceded its appearance by creating a large number of random RNA sequences until an array capable of self-reflection was formed. We believe that a similar process occurs with necklaces in a star, leading to a consistent process of self-reflection.”
Strings and monopoles are thought to have appeared in the early universe because it cooled The Big Bang, And the particle soup of quark-gluan plasma filled it a Symmetric-breaking Phase change and condenser in substance – like vapor condensing into liquid.
Although we have not yet discovered cosmic strings (one-dimensional linear objects) or monopoles (elementary particles with only one magnetic pole), a lot of thought has gone into how they might behave.
In 1988, Sudnovsky and his colleague, Alexander Wilenkin, a theoretical physicist at Tufts University, Cosmic strings can be caught by stars. There, the turbulence will extend the string until it forms a network of strings.
According to a new study, cosmic necklaces may form in a series of symmetric-breaking phase changes. In the first stage, monopoles emerge. Second, the strings.
It can form the fixed configuration of a monopole bell and two strings, resulting in one, two, and three-dimensional structures – such as atoms joined by chemical bonds, the researchers say.
A one-dimensional necklace is unlikely to carry information. But more complex structures are possible – and they can survive as long as they copy, and feed the fusion energy formed by the star.
“Compared to the lifespan of a star, its lifespan is a spark of instantaneous light in the dark. What is important is that such a spark is able to produce more sparks before fading, thus providing a longer lifespan of the creature.” Researchers write.
“The complexity created by mutations and natural selection increases with the number of generations that have passed. As a result, if the lifespan of self-reflecting nuclear organisms is short, the lifespan of many unstable hybrid nuclear materials can quickly develop into a massive problem.”
Presumably, such a way of life can cultivate intelligence, and even radically intelligent ones, says Sudnovsky.
What such a race would look like is a feast for the imagination. But we do not need to know how they are to look for signs of their existence. Because such organisms use some of their host star energy to survive and propagate, they can count stars that appear to cool faster than stellar models, which researchers may call “nuclear life.”
Many such stars Has been observed, And their slightly accelerated cooling is still a mystery. EPIC 249706694 could be a good place to see misleading dim stars without explanation. Researchers are careful to note that combining these stars with nuclear power would take a very long time. But there are interesting contradictions. Even interesting possibilities.
“Because they are evolving so fast, we can find a way to explore the universe beyond their star, as we did,” Satnovsky told ScienceAlert. “They can establish communication and travel between stars. Maybe we should look for them in space.”
It’s all very theoretical, but wild ideas are the best way to make new discoveries. The researchers plan to continue their investigation by creating simulations of a cosmic necklace in stars. This may not lead us to glowing star aliens – but if not, it may give us a better understanding of cosmic strings and monopoles.
And, honestly? This is a very funny thing.
“It is a fascinating thought that the Universe may be filled with a very different intelligent life from us, and we have failed to recognize its existence,” Sutnovsky said.
Research has been published Letters in high energy physics.