24/7 Space News
Alien Machines in the Solar System: The Possibilities and Potential Origins
Revenge of the trilobites ...
Alien Machines in the Solar System: The Possibilities and Potential Origins
by Irina K. Romanovskaya
Houston TX (SPX) Sep 27, 2023

In 2018, the scientists Adam Frank and Gavin Schmidt proposed the Silurian hypothesis. It considered the potential of finding ancient evidence in Earth's geologic record that a non-human industrial civilization could exist on Earth millions of years ago. But could any outcomes of the technogenic activities of such a civilization survive until present day? Irina K. Romanovskaya, who is a graduate of Rice University and a professor of physics and astronomy at Houston Community College, addressed this question in her research paper published by International Journal of Astrobiology, Cambridge University Press, and titled " Planetary biotechnospheres, biotechnosignatures and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence."

Genetically engineered bacteria, for example, could outlive humankind. In relation to their migration hypothesis, the scientists Robert Bradbury and Milan Cirkovic considered how in the distant future, humankind could build post-biological computing entities that would migrate to the outskirts of the Solar System.

Accordingly, Romanovskaya proposed the Cosmic Descendants hypothesis in her research paper. The Cosmic Descendants hypothesis posits that if a non-human industrial civilization existed on Earth, Venus or Mars in the distant past and it created spacefaring intelligent machines and engineered bacteria working in concert with technologies, then the descendants of the intelligent machines and bacteria could survive the civilization and currently exist in the Solar System. Those spacefaring intelligent machines and their descendants could reside mostly beyond the orbit of Saturn to experience less negative impact of solar activity.

The machines could explore asteroids, Ceres and Jovian planets' moons for resources, and use engineered bacteria in asteroid biomining and other applications. They could send space probes to survey the Sun and Earth.

If the intelligent machines had no biological components and did not use biological matter, they could eventually leave the Solar System and migrate to the outskirts of the Galaxy. However, if the intelligent machines had non-biological components and biological components (for example, artificial silicon neurons interlinked with in vitro biological neural networks), then the machines could remain within the heliosphere of the Solar System that would protect them from galactic cosmic rays. In the distant future, a supernova going off in our galactic neighborhood or the Sun turning into a red giant could make them leave the Solar System.

The Cosmic Descendants hypothesis also posits that the hypothetical ancient non-human civilization and its intelligent machines could build biotechnospheres on Earth and elsewhere in the Solar System.

Romanovskaya describes biotechnospheres as systems of life forms and technologies working in concert toward common goals. For example, a localized biotechnosphere could be a combination of bacteria performing bioremediation of the radioactive waste from a nuclear power plant and technologies that would monitor the bacteria and guide its activities. Biotechnospheres could monitor and preserve the planetary environment, assist with space exploration, medical processes, industrial processes, mining, and food production.

The Cosmic Descendants hypothesis posits that if the hypothetical ancient non-human civilization built biotechnospheres with engineered bacteria in the past, the descendants of those bacteria could survive to our times and preserve the abilities that their ancestral bacteria had in the ancient biotechnospheres. A discovery of bacteria with such abilities on Earth could serve as evidence that an advanced non-human civilization existed on Earth in the distant past.

The descendants of the ancient bacteria of ancient biotechnospheres could also exist on Mars and elsewhere the Solar System. This is why Romanovskaya points out that "the discovery of bacteria that were part of such extinct biotechnospheres could blur the line between astrobiology, interstellar archeology and the search for the artefacts of extraterrestrial civilizations."

In her research paper, Romanovskaya coins the term 'biotechnosignatures' to describe observables and artefacts of alien biotechnospheres. She proposes several ways to search for the biotechnosignatures of alien civilizations in other planetary systems.

For example, if a planetary biotechnosphere regulated the planetary environment of an exoplanet, a biotechnosignature could be in the form of the planetary environment remaining steady from decades to millions of years.

Magnetic storms on exoplanets could also reveal alien biotechnospheres and their biotechnosignatures. Consider, for example, a solar proton event known as the Carrington event of 1859 that caused the powerful magnetic storm on Earth in September 1859. The magnetic storm did not damage life on Earth. Today, such a storm would disrupt radio communications in Earth's high-latitude regions and seriously damage electrical grid and satellite capabilities on Earth.

If a Carrington-like magnetic storm occurred on an exoplanet where a biotechnosphere was protecting the planetary environment, the storm could temporarily damage the biotechnosphere's technologies. This would cause unexpected variations in the planetary environment. So, a biotechnosignature could be unusual fluctuations of the exoplanet's environment happening after stellar flares, with the planetary conditions speedily returning to their pre-flare state.

Another biotechnosignature could be a rapid strengthening of the signs of bacterial activities on an exoplanet that experienced a mass extinction event. The biotechnosignature could arise if a planetary biotechnosphere with engineered bacteria existed on the exoplanet, survived the mass extinction event, and supported restoration of the planetary habitability.

A star turning into a red giant could reveal planetary biotechnospheres on the planets orbiting it. A biotechnosignature could be a combination of the signs of an advanced civilization migrating away from the star and colonizing the planetary system's outer regions and the signs of the engineered bacteria and biotechnospheres remaining on the civilization's home planet and experiencing a destruction by the dying star.

Biotechnospheres could also produce biotechnosignatures when used in terraforming of planets and moons in the Solar System and in other planetary systems.

Bio-inspired alien technologies could be another biotechnosignature. Almost all robotic systems created by humans are inspired by the properties of Earth-based life forms, and so Romanovskaya proposes that alien robotic systems could also have properties imitating the properties of the biological species that created them or the properties of other life forms known to such a biological species.

Romanovskaya suggests that If alien robotic systems were ever discovered, astrobiologists could work together with engineers to determine which properties of the alien robotic systems could "tell" us something about the properties of alien life.

About the Author : Irina Mullins writes under her maiden name, Irina K. Romanovskaya. She is a graduate of Rice University (Houston, Texas) and a professor of physics and astronomy at Houston Community College System.

Research Report:Planetary biotechnospheres, biotechnosignatures and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence

Related Links
International Journal of Astrobiology
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Scientists develop method of identifying life on other worlds
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 26, 2023
Humankind is looking for life on other planets, but how will we recognise it when we see it? Now a group of US scientists have developed an artificial-intelligence-based system which gives 90% accuracy in discovering signs of life. The work was presented to scientists for the first time at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Lyon on Friday 14th July, where it received a positive reception from others working in the field. The details have now been published in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS ... read more

Chinese universities climb up leading global ranking

Kayhan Space Raises $7 million, Unveils First-Ever Autonomous Space Traffic Coordination Service

Two Russians, American reach space station

Rockets and Porsches: rich Russians flock to Baikonur spaceport

Third Subscale Booster for future Artemis missions fires up at Marshall

'Anomaly' ends Rocket Lab launch mid-flight

SpaceX deploys another 22 Starlink satellites

Musk biography describes troubled tycoon driven by demons

Curiosity Needs an Altitude Adjustment: Sols 3955-3956

"Sombrero Rock": A Case of Case-Hardening?

New milestones despite tricky boulders

Reading the Rocks: The Importance of the Margin Carbonate Unit on Mars

China capable of protecting astronauts from effects of space weightlessness

Tianzhou 5 spacecraft burns up on Earth reentry

Crew of Shenzhou XV mission honored for six-month space odyssey

China solicits names for manned lunar exploration vehicles

Terran Orbital Announces Closing of $32.5 Million Public Offering

Iridium and McQ develop remote monitoring solution for Canadian Armed Forces in the Arctic

Terran Orbital announces pricing of Public Offering

Intelsat Inflight Connectivity expanded to all Airbus aircraft

Zenno and D-to develop superconducting electromagnets

Hit soccer video game adds mixed-gender teams, sheds FIFA name

Mineral-hungry clean tech sees countries seeking to escape China's shadow

One-atom-thick ribbons could improve batteries, solar cells and sensors

Alien Machines in the Solar System: The Possibilities and Potential Origins

A newly identified virus emerges from the deep

Scientists develop method of identifying life on other worlds

Tiny sea creatures reveal the ancient origins of neurons

Webb finds carbon source on surface of Jupiter's moon Europa

Hidden ocean the source of CO2 on Jupiter moon

Juice: why's it taking sooo long

Possible existence of Earth-like planet predicted in Outskirts of Solar System

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.