Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 52

Thread: Do you think a non-industrial animal could become space fairing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    8,725

    Do you think a non-industrial animal could become space fairing?

    I mean an animal with the intelligence of a rabbit, or even lower, some kind or organism without technology?

    Could it get into space, somehow?

    Sort of a scifi theme.
    Formerly Frog march.

    Newscaster: ... But I've just had a report that a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists this morning and had them all shot, so now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead this afternoon on this beautiful sunny day.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    1,635
    If you consider microbes as "animals" then yes they can be blasted into space via large enough impact events.....rabbits too, but not in a very intact condition.
    Last edited by Spacedude; 2018-Feb-17 at 12:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    274
    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    If you consider microbes as "animals" then yes they can be blasted into space via large enough impact events.....rabbits too, but not in a very intact condition.
    Would life always start on a planet?
    I know that I know nothing, so I question everything. - Socrates/Descartes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,099
    Quote Originally Posted by DaCaptain View Post
    Would life always start on a planet?
    That's an excellent question, but one for which there is no current answer, and may never be a satisfactory one. There are some scientifically-based speculations that life could have started on comets and then get delivered to Earth by impacts. To deter any trolling, do recall that abiogenesis obviously happened, but its circumstances are not known and may well remain only known by very indirect means for the foreseeable future; if it occurred on Earth, which I suspect is most likely, it's also quite possible or even probable that the conditions for abiogenesis no longer exist here.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2018-Feb-18 at 02:18 PM. Reason: added "on" into phrase "if it occurred on Earth"

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    1,635
    It has to start somewhere, "always" seems a bit too rigid concerning our present knowledge but for now it's a reasonable assumption.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    15,925
    As a natural ability, like a flying creature somehow able to fly that high? Or as a pet or stowaway with spaceship-building creatures?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    14,765
    I suspect that conditions for abiogenesis on Earth are about as
    good now as at any time ever, but conditions for that new life to
    be immediately gobbled up by existing life are perfect.

    Pigs in Space?

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    8,725
    I was thinking of giant balloon creatures, that somehow evolved some kind of propulsion to get them into space........sort of unlikely I suppose.
    Formerly Frog march.

    Newscaster: ... But I've just had a report that a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists this morning and had them all shot, so now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead this afternoon on this beautiful sunny day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    47,718
    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    This section of the forum is for astronomy and space exploration questions with straightforward, generally accepted answers.
    This question isn't even close to that criteria. Moved from Q&A to LiS.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,049
    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I mean an animal with the intelligence of a rabbit, or even lower, some kind or organism without technology?
    Could it get into space, somehow?
    For how long? More than 30 seconds? Not and live.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,049
    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I was thinking of giant balloon creatures, that somehow evolved some kind of propulsion to get them into space........sort of unlikely I suppose.
    If they started off from a planet, they'd have a darned tough time getting above the atmosphere.

    It is not sufficient to simply get to space; they would have to acquire a pretty impressive velocity to get to orbit, nevermind escape orbit.

    From an Earth-mass planet they would need to reach 25,000 mph to break free.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,232
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    If they started off from a planet, they'd have a darned tough time getting above the atmosphere.

    It is not sufficient to simply get to space; they would have to acquire a pretty impressive velocity to get to orbit, nevermind escape orbit.

    From an Earth-mass planet they would need to reach 25,000 mph to break free.
    From somewhere like Titan, not so much. For somewhere like Enceladus, even better...
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    3,978
    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I mean an animal with the intelligence of a rabbit, or even lower, some kind or organism without technology?

    Could it get into space, somehow?

    Sort of a scifi theme.
    If you don't require the creature to be a product of natural evolution, but of really advanced genetic engineering / artificial life, I'd say it's probably possible. Larry Niven wrote about Stage Trees--trees with cores of solid rocket fuel.
    Calm down, have some dip. - George Carlin

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Depew, NY
    Posts
    11,316
    I have a couple of silly ideas.

    A crocodile's heart and lungs are wonderful for being exposed to a vacuum. The airflow in the lungs is all one way, they hold their breath by closing their lips, so you'd probably have a very low chance of trauma to the lungs. Their heart has a bypass from the lungs so they can cycle the same O2 around without losing any by outgasing in the lungs like a mammal. I have no idea how they'd get into space.

    Idea two, a balloon spider can reach up to 5 km. They tend to weigh just milligrams, so a lightning bolt might have enough power to kick them into orbit. Exactly how that doesn't fry the poor thing is beyond me, but it seems like the numbers work.

    Now to combine the two into the completely absurd: A crocodile is sunning on a log it dragged on to a launch pad in Florida. The log is hit by a lightning bolt, blowing the crocodile into... ah...

    Oops. Not enough joules to go into orbit. Not even an back of the envelope calculation can save me.

    How about the crocodile crawls into the trunk of a convertible, sitting on a launch pad, which happened to be owned by Elon Musk's...
    Last edited by Solfe; 2018-Feb-18 at 12:18 PM.
    Solfe

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,049
    Anybody remember this intrepid bat from STS-119?



    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/s...launchbat.html

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    10,099
    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    If you don't require the creature to be a product of natural evolution, but of really advanced genetic engineering / artificial life, I'd say it's probably possible. Larry Niven wrote about Stage Trees--trees with cores of solid rocket fuel.
    I suspect he hadn't done the sums for the mass ratio required to reach escape velocity especially with solid rocket propellants; if, as I suspect, stage trees are single stage, they're probably not physically possible -- SSTO with high energy liquid propellants need fuel mass/launch mass ratios of about 0.95 -- and solid propellants have lower impulse than liquids, so they'd probably require a fuel mass/launch mass ratio greater than 1. There is work being done on higher performance solids, but the constraints are pretty significant, even for a biochemical system: the fuel and oxidizer have to be stable at environmental temperatures, ignitable, but not too subject to spontaneously ignition, and with sufficient structural stability to withstand the accelerations during launch. Right now, it looks like is a very promising oxidizer, glycidyl azide polymer is a promising binder, and the third component is aluminum hydride. (https://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/153514_en.html; since I'm neither a chemist -- my highest level chemistry class is basic organic chemistry -- nor a rocket scientists -- I'm a recovering aerodynamicist -- I don't keep track of rocket fuel chemistry developments, so I don't know if this has been superseded).

    In other words, I don't think it's possible for macroscopic organisms to reach space from a planet. Now, something like a large satellite, orbiting a gas giant, with high energy cryovulcanism would give a different result. Something like a tardigrade -- or even something larger -- could ride a cryovulcanic plume into orbit or escape velocity.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,162
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    From somewhere like Titan, not so much. For somewhere like Enceladus, even better...
    Yes, a planet or moon with Titan-like gravity (less than Earth's moon) and atmosphere (thicker than Earth's) would be a more feasible for the sort of the balloon-like spacefaring creature which Wax has suggested. Available energy on Titan itself would be most unlikely to be sufficient — calculations show energy densities suitable for bacteria, but presumably not for a multi-celled creature with a natural jetpack.

    Enceladus has less gravity than Titan, but very little atmosphere. An aquatic organism which evolved in its subsurface ocean might get carried into space by the natural geyser there, but I doubt it would survive long in space.
    Last edited by Colin Robinson; 2018-Feb-18 at 11:22 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    14,765
    I didn't realize (or forgot) that Titan has such low surface gravity!

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2,162
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    I didn't realize (or forgot) that Titan has such low surface gravity!

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Yes, it's counter-intuitive that Titan, whose size and mass are greater than the Moon's, has lower surface gravity. It's because of the difference in composition and therefore density..

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,232
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Yes, a planet or moon with Titan-like gravity (less than Earth's moon) and atmosphere (thicker than Earth's) would be a more feasible for the sort of the balloon-like spacefaring creature which Wax has suggested. Available energy on Titan itself would be most unlikely to be sufficient — calculations show energy densities suitable for bacteria, but presumably not for a multi-celled creature with a natural jetpack.

    Enceladus has less gravity than Titan, but very little atmosphere. An aquatic organism which evolved in its subsurface ocean might get carried into space by the natural geyser there, but I doubt it would survive long in space.
    But sir, we are talking over geologic time scales here. The Enceladus ring of Saturn (or more likely its exo-analog) could be covered in "space lichen".
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,232
    Mr. Robinson, I've read enough of your posts to know you should be fully aware of what spectacular miracles Life can do over vast amounts of time.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    1,635
    I must be missing something here, probably!? Wouldn't a Thea-like object striking the Earth at the very least blow some intact microbes into space with enough escape velocity? I'm thinking of deep seated microbes within a chunk of non molten crust being ejected. Part of the Panspermia idea.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,032
    I saw a story (in 2001 Nights comic) that had astronauts exploring a planet in habited by a single world spanning tree species. It was collecting photons to launch seeds by natural laser into space. The problem with this is that there would be little evolutionary feedback from space back to the plant, so little force of selection, so the ability to colonise space would be difficult to naturally evolve. This would be the general problem in evolving to space, that since it is mostly fatal it doesn't represent a viable habitat that could adapt a population to survive it.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,232
    Quote Originally Posted by transreality View Post
    I saw a story (in 2001 Nights comic) that had astronauts exploring a planet in habited by a single world spanning tree species. It was collecting photons to launch seeds by natural laser into space. The problem with this is that there would be little evolutionary feedback from space back to the plant, so little force of selection, so the ability to colonise space would be difficult to naturally evolve. This would be the general problem in evolving to space, that since it is mostly fatal it doesn't represent a viable habitat that could adapt a population to survive it.
    Aren't these the same problems that evolving to live on land bring?

    Take Enceladus for instance. An ice pressurize sea world with a Mars-like atmosphere or less. The geysers alone are enough to reach escape velocity. Add a billion years of various planktons and bacteria analogs being forcibly ejected into space and a probable ice ring.

    Now what was the advantage of plants moving from tide pools to shoreline to finally the uplands? Availability of resources without competition or predation. (Initially) What they lost was gas pressure, thermal stability, and easy transport of gametes and seeds.

    So now we come to what would be the advantage of space living? Photosynthesis may or may not develop in the ice pressurized sea world. That's the one thing I would be happier Devil's Advocating this idea, if it were feasible to come up with already photosynthetic life forms. (I know there are myriad forms of autotrophy, it's just I'm not all that familiar with them.)

    But even the chemoautotrophic types would have a billion years of previous organic matter spewed onto their ice ring. So when their cysts and spores settle onto the chucks of solid matter...who knows what could happen.

    Just remember it only took half a billion years for jawless fish to evolve into Sofia Vergara!
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  25. 2018-Feb-27, 10:47 PM
    Reason
    dupe

  26. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,049
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    So now we come to what would be the advantage of space living?
    Don't think in terms of advantages; think in terms of did the organisms that got ejected survive?

    In such an environment, the environment itself (and lack of sustenance) are the only dangers - and it's virgin territory for resources. There is no competition, so nothing for an organism to need an advantage over.

  27. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,032
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Aren't these the same problems that evolving to live on land bring?
    To evolve to the habitat the organism has to survive so it can pass on the characteristics that allowed it to survive to its offspring. Moving onto land is possible (and a gradual process). Algal mats that form on the sea floor, prove useful at retaining moisture when laid on the shoreline, long enough to allow another generation of presumably dessication resistant algae. Small arthropods can shelter in the interstitial space of sand grains long enough to metabolise and to reproduce, and if they can't then they don't contribute to the population of proto-terrestrial arthropods. The difficulty of getting into space is that the upper atmosphere is not very friendly with UV, and general lack of resources, and space is even worse, so gradual adaption to vacuum and high ultra violet is not easy. Perhaps on a planet with a deep extended atmosphere if such a thing is possible..

  28. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12,938
    I don't really see how it would be possible, in the normal understanding of life. I think the organism would need to be completely self-contained, so not losing any matter (completely recycling) while taking in energy. And clearly you couldn't reproduce because there is no way to get the hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, etc., that you would need to build the new organism.
    As above, so below

  29. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,049
    Aren't we hypothesizing microbial life surviving inside a chunk of rock hurled off the planet by a large impactor?

    It's pretty speculative, granted, but the microbes will have managed to bring their optimal habitat with them. At least until some of the staples, such as water, run out.
    One can then extrapolate a host of ways it might survive long enough to adapt.

  30. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    12,938
    Well, the OP asked about "animals" "smaller than rabbits," and later clarified with this:

    I was thinking of giant balloon creatures, that somehow evolved some kind of propulsion to get them into space........sort of unlikely I suppose.
    So my take is that he was not asking about microbes. I do realize that other people have taken it in that direction, but I was trying to respond to the original question.
    As above, so below

  31. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,049
    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Well, the OP asked about "animals" "smaller than rabbits," and later clarified with this:


    So my take is that he was not asking about microbes. I do realize that other people have taken it in that direction, but I was trying to respond to the original question.
    Concur.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •