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Don J
2012-Nov-04, 06:43 AM
Source:
New Journal of Physics
Abstract:
http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/9/8/263


Complex plasmas may naturally self-organize themselves into stable interacting helical structures that exhibit features normally attributed to organic living matter. The self-organization is based on non-trivial physical mechanisms of plasma interactions involving over-screening of plasma polarization. As a result, each helical string composed of solid microparticles is topologically and dynamically controlled by plasma fluxes leading to particle charging and over-screening, the latter providing attraction even among helical strings of the same charge sign. These interacting complex structures exhibit thermodynamic and evolutionary features thought to be peculiar only to living matter such as bifurcations that serve as 'memory marks', self-duplication, metabolic rates in a thermodynamically open system, and non-Hamiltonian dynamics. We examine the salient features of this new complex 'state of soft matter' in light of the autonomy, evolution, progenity and autopoiesis principles used to define life. It is concluded that complex self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter that may exist in space provided certain conditions allow them to evolve naturally.

Full text
http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/9/8/263/fulltext/


Our analysis shows that if helical dust structures are formed in space, they can have bifurcations as memory marks and duplicate each other, and they would reveal a faster evolution rate by competing for `food' (surrounding plasma fluxes). These structures can have all necessary features to form `inorganic life'. This should be taken into account for formulation of a new SETI-like program based not only on astrophysical observations but also on planned new laboratory experiments, including those on the ISS. In the case of the success of such a program one should be faced with the possibility of resolving the low rate of evolution of organic life by investigating the possibility that the inorganic life `invents' the organic life.

Noclevername
2012-Nov-04, 07:39 AM
In the case of the success of such a program one should be faced with the possibility of resolving the low rate of evolution of organic life by investigating the possibility that the inorganic life `invents' the organic life.

What do they mean by "low rate of evolution"? Organic life evolves enough to survive.

How would plasma vortices "invent" organic life?

eburacum45
2012-Nov-04, 10:16 AM
I've seen this before. I'd love it to be true, but this has even less substance in it than most astrobiological speculation.

Paul Wally
2012-Nov-04, 12:20 PM
Thanks for that interesting link, Don J.


I've seen this before. I'd love it to be true, but this has even less substance in it than most astrobiological speculation.

I think most of the 'substance' is in the mathematical theory of self-organizing complexity and its application to the specific material substrates of plasmas and dust clouds. They found that helical structures similar (structurally isomorphic) to DNA can emerge in these cases. The speculative part is that there must be some kind of connection between the inorganic life and organic life, because the rate of evolution is faster than that of organic life, that could explain how organic life is more likely to evolve from such inorganic life than to evolve from 'scratch' so to speak. That's how I understand it.

It's a very interesting concept though, and not something that we should dismiss outright as just more speculation.

Selfsim
2012-Nov-04, 07:48 PM
I reckon my crayon drawing of an alien has more 'substance'.

Actually, the 'study' seems like a good example of riding the 'exo-life exists' bandwagon (for all its worth), and taking the definitions of life to an absurd extreme, in order to make a point of where pure logic and blind analogies will take us, provided if one is prepared to lose sight of reality. (I think this is called sci-fi(??)).

I think I saw this episode on Star-Trek!

My crayon drawing of an alien is a better analogy though … far more credible … (just because I say so …) :p

Don J
2012-Nov-04, 07:58 PM
This is not the first time in recent years that plasma life forms have been studied. In 2003 physicists; Erzilia Lozneanu and Mircea Sanduloviciu of Cuza University, Romania, described in their research paper Minimal Cell System created in Laboratory by Self-Organization (published in Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, volume 18, page 335), how they created plasma spheres in the laboratory that can grow, replicate and communicate - fulfilling most of the traditional requirements for biological cells. They are convinced that these plasma spheres offer a radically new explanation of how life began and proposed that they were precursors to biological evolution.
Link to the paper
Minimal-cell system created in laboratory by self-organization
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960077902006628
Resume


The researchers studied environmental conditions similar to those that existed on the Earth before life began, when the planet was enveloped in electric storms that caused ionized gases to form in the atmosphere. They inserted two electrodes into a chamber containing a low-temperature polarized plasma of argon - a gas in which some of the atoms have been split into negatively-charged electrons and positively-charged ions. They applied a high voltage to the electrodes, producing an arc of energy that bolted across the gap between them, like a miniature lightning strike. Sanduloviciu says this electric spark caused a high concentration of ions and electrons to accumulate at the positively charged electrode, which spontaneously formed spheres.

Each sphere had a boundary made up of two layers - an outer layer of negatively charged electrons and an inner layer of positively charged ions. Trapped inside the boundary was an inner nucleus of gas atoms - which was surrounded by a luminous sheet. An electric field was present between the boundary and nucleus, within which electrons are accelerated. The evolved sphere appears as a stable, self-confined, layered, luminous and nearly spherical body. . The amount of energy in the initial spark governed their size and lifespan. Sanduloviciu grew spheres from a few micrometers up to three centimeters in diameter.

Lozneanu and Sanduloviciu describe a rhythmic "inhalation" of the nucleus which mimics the breathing process of living systems and results in pulsations. The spheres could replicate by splitting into two. Under the right conditions they grew bigger, taking up neutral argon atoms and splitting them into ions and electrons to replenish their boundary layers. Finally, they could communicate information by emitting electromagnetic energy, making the atoms within other spheres vibrate at a particular frequency. "This is no different from the vibrating diaphragm in a telephone which enables information to be communicated from one point to another," says David Cohen, reporting in the journal New Scientist. Sanduloviciu insists that although the spheres require high temperature to form, they can survive at lower temperatures. "That would be the sort of environment in which normal biochemical interactions occur".

According to Sanduloviciu, these plasma spheres were the first cells on Earth, arising within electric storms, and he believes that the emergence of such spheres is a prerequisite for the evolution of biological cells. He says that the cell-like spheres could be at the origin of other forms of life we have not yet considered. "There could be life out there, but not as we know it" he says.

Noclevername
2012-Nov-04, 10:47 PM
By their definition then, fire would be alive. It grows and multiplies, emits electromagnetic frequencies that can affect the growth of nearby flames, and breathes air. And it can be caused by lightning strikes, too.

Paul Wally
2012-Nov-04, 11:26 PM
By their definition then, fire would be alive. It grows and multiplies, emits electromagnetic frequencies that can affect the growth of nearby flames, and breathes air. And it can be caused by lightning strikes, too.

The important difference is that there are localized structures capable of self-replication by splitting in two, just like biological cells. Fire is just an ordinary positive feedback cascade effect and doesn't involve the same kind of self-organizing characteristics.

eburacum45
2012-Nov-05, 11:37 AM
The important difference is that there are localized structures capable of self-replication by splitting in two, just like biological cells. Fire is just an ordinary positive feedback cascade effect and doesn't involve the same kind of self-organizing characteristics.

An important difference between these 'plasma cells' and living cells is that the plasma cells persist for seconds or minutes at the most; living cells can last for years or decades. If these plasma cells have any relevance to living cells, it is to highlight just how remarkable the persistence of a living cell with a closed metabolic cycle really is.

Paul Wally
2012-Nov-05, 06:09 PM
An important difference between these 'plasma cells' and living cells is that the plasma cells persist for seconds or minutes at the most; living cells can last for years or decades. If these plasma cells have any relevance to living cells, it is to highlight just how remarkable the persistence of a living cell with a closed metabolic cycle really is.

Actually, I think there's much more to learn from such relatively simple examples of the emergence of self-replication. By studying the dynamics of emerging self-replication we could apply the same principles to complex chemistry, in order to explain how self-replication can emerge in complex chemistry. In actual biology we cannot observe the emergence of self-replication, because a self-replicating cell came from a self-replicating cell and that cell also came from a self-replicating cell etc. The problem of abiogenesis is really to explain how self-replication itself emerges, and phenomena like these self-replicating plasma cells present us with an excellent opportunity to study the dynamics involved in the emergence of self-replication.

Don J
2012-Nov-06, 05:04 AM
The problem of abiogenesis is really to explain how self-replication itself emerges, and phenomena like these self-replicating plasma cells present us with an excellent opportunity to study the dynamics involved in the emergence of self-replication.

Good point! Here the follow up of their study and experiments.
Self-organization scenario acting as physical basis of intelligent complex systems created in laboratory,
PDF
http://www.rrp.infim.ro/2008_60_3/43-885-898.pdf

Don J
2012-Nov-08, 08:02 AM
From OP post 1


http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/9/8/263/fulltext/

Our analysis shows that if helical dust structures are formed in space, they can have bifurcations as memory marks and duplicate each other, and they would reveal a faster evolution rate by competing for `food' (surrounding plasma fluxes). These structures can have all necessary features to form `inorganic life'.

On a satiric comment.
Organic debris on the scanner plate,which do I lean toward, or some kind of strange life in space ?
Zoom in
http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photos/13-e/hr/as08-13-2380hr.jpg

http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photos/13-e/med/as08-13-2382.jpg

source
http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photo13-e.htm
(scroll down to bottom)

Don J
2012-Nov-11, 08:09 AM
Here a shortcut for faster downdload

http://i1008.photobucket.com/albums/af201/feelfree222/as08-13-2380hr-1.jpg

http://i1008.photobucket.com/albums/af201/feelfree222/as08-13-2382.jpg

Is it possible to have access to the original apollo 8 70mm Hasselblad film for these two images to see if these "features" are there in that film.
If the objects are not there, we can probably safely presume that they are likely debris introduced in the subsequent scanning process.
ETA
If the objects are present in the original film, then we may have some Earth shaking evidence of some kind of strange inorganic life in space.

See below for update...

Don J
2012-Nov-12, 07:58 AM
I have find the best available frame of the image(s) AS08-13-2380 and AS08-13-2382 from TIFF format and the feature is there....
Source:
The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=AS08&roll=13&frame=2380

and
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=AS08&roll=13&frame=2382

Paul Wally
2012-Nov-12, 10:52 AM
I have find the best available frame of the image(s) AS08-13-2380 and AS08-13-2382 from TIFF format and the feature is there....
Source:
The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=AS08&roll=13&frame=2380

and
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=AS08&roll=13&frame=2382

Maybe it's just something on the porthole glass.

Don J
2012-Nov-12, 07:28 PM
Maybe it's just something on the porthole glass.
Effectively there is the possibility that it might be ice or mold forming on the Command Module window the astronauts are filming through. However, if so and especially with the image numbers being so close together at 2380 and 2382 and being taken so close together, it would still be there in subsequent camera shots of the same scene out the same window and it just isn't there.

As a matter of fact the feature is not there in frame 2381 or in any other frame prior to 2380 and nothing "special" after 2382.
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=AS08&roll=13&frame=2381

marsbug
2012-Nov-18, 09:58 PM
I reckon my crayon drawing of an alien has more 'substance'.

Actually, the 'study' seems like a good example of riding the 'exo-life exists' bandwagon (for all its worth), and taking the definitions of life to an absurd extreme, in order to make a point of where pure logic and blind analogies will take us, provided if one is prepared to lose sight of reality. (I think this is called sci-fi(??)).

I think I saw this episode on Star-Trek!

My crayon drawing of an alien is a better analogy though … far more credible … (just because I say so …) :p

I don't get any such intention from the bstudy, I think they're taking this seriously. But that said, i read it most of the way through as a purely theoretical study of how, under very specific circumstances, a system of plasma crystals could behave in ways anoloagous to a living system, not become a living system.

Then they suggested these theoretical plasma systems might have invented DNA. So i figured they were playing for the whole thing for laughs.

Selfsim
2012-Nov-18, 10:27 PM
I don't get any such intention from the bstudy, I think they're taking this seriously. But that said, i read it most of the way through as a purely theoretical study of how, under very specific circumstances, a system of plasma crystals could behave in ways anoloagous to a living system, not become a living system.

Then they suggested these theoretical plasma systems might have invented DNA. So i figured they were playing for the whole thing for laughs.I started out seriously when I drew my crayon alien, too.

Unfortunately, my sense of humour seized control of my drawing hand, and what popped out was a double helix shaped torso! :p :)

John Jaksich
2012-Nov-19, 07:10 PM
Don J Complex plasmas may naturally self-organize themselves into stable interacting helical structures that exhibit features normally attributed to organic living matter. The self-organization is based on non-trivial physical mechanisms of plasma interactions involving over-screening of plasma polarization. As a result, each helical string composed of solid microparticles is topologically and dynamically controlled by plasma fluxes leading to particle charging and over-screening, the latter providing attraction even among helical strings of the same charge sign. These interacting complex structures exhibit thermodynamic and evolutionary features thought to be peculiar only to living matter such as bifurcations that serve as 'memory marks', self-duplication, metabolic rates in a thermodynamically open system, and non-Hamiltonian dynamics. We examine the salient features of this new complex 'state of soft matter' in light of the autonomy, evolution, progenity and autopoiesis principles used to define life. It is concluded that complex self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter that may exist in space provided certain conditions allow them to evolve naturally.





I started out seriously when I drew my crayon alien, too.

Unfortunately, my sense of humour seized control of my drawing hand, and what popped out was a double helix shaped torso! :p :)

One thing which I have noticed (for what its worth), these so-called structures may be in the *lowest* energy states for that particular milieu---I have not seen anyone take that important concept into account (if I am not mistaken).

Don J
2012-Nov-19, 08:47 PM
I don't get any such intention from the bstudy, I think they're taking this seriously. But that said, i read it most of the way through as a purely theoretical study of how, under very specific circumstances, a system of plasma crystals could behave in ways anoloagous to a living system, not become a living system.

That is right.


Then they suggested these theoretical plasma systems might have invented DNA. So i figured they were playing for the whole thing for laughs.
See page 11 of the free PDF paper (below)they gives a description of the process which ultimately leaded to the creation of living matter on Earth...
Text starting by "In this paper we start with the premise that self-organization is the single "technique"used by Nature to create living system....
http://www.rrp.infim.ro/2008_60_3/43-885-898.pdf

John Jaksich
2012-Nov-19, 09:19 PM
Then they suggested these theoretical plasma systems might have invented DNA. So i figured they were playing for the whole thing for laughs.



That is right.

See page 11 of the free PDF paper (below)they gives a description of the process which ultimately leaded to the creation of living matter on Earth...
Text starting by "In this paper we start with the premise that self-organization is the single "technique"used by Nature to create living system....
http://www.rrp.infim.ro/2008_60_3/43-885-898.pdf

I suppose they are not dazzling us with brilliance --but are certainly attempting to confound everyone with hubris?

Selfsim
2012-Nov-19, 11:01 PM
One thing which I have noticed (for what its worth), these so-called structures may be in the *lowest* energy states for that particular milieu---I have not seen anyone take that important concept into account (if I am not mistaken).Hi John;
On a more serious note, some aspects of migration of complex systems towards the lowest energy states has been hypothesised and semi-formalised by 'Adrian Bejan', in his 'Constructal theory' … (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructal_law)


The constructal law holds that "shape and structure arises to facilitate flow and that designs that arise spontaneously in nature reflect this tendency: they allow entities to flow more easily – to measurably move more current farther and faster for less unit of useful energy consumed."I'd also regard this theory with some skepticism however, as it is very abstract and not particularly well-grounded from physical principles …

The second criticism of constructal theory is that there has been no attempt to prove it from first principles. Contrarily to alternative theories of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, there is no proof of constructal theory based on simplified systems of statistical physics. The claim that constructal theory is a fundamental principle of thermodynamics itself has also been disputed .Bejan also views the emergence of certain synergies between life structures and 'flows', which tend to migrate along pathways which facilitate the most efficient expenditures of energy.

(I only raise the Bejan theory to highlight that others have had similar 'rubbery' thoughts along similar lines of analogous physical phenomena).

Chaos theory would probably model these as 'attractors', which appear when dynamic systems get perturbed from their natural equilibrium states. Chaos theory has the benefit of physical evidence, and explanations by way of derivations from theory. At a certain level of detail, it is also characterises the underlying mechanism - modelling the behaviours as iterative, non-linear processes incorporating feedback at the core. (It is also considered 'mainstream', whereas I would think the other two, be would struggling to even get 'a toe in the door').

publiusr
2012-Nov-19, 11:59 PM
I thought this was interesting
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=12804

Unilever used an evolutionary computer program to study proper nozzles for dispensing soap according to a ted talk. Maybe fly-by panspermia by rocket nozzle?

John Jaksich
2012-Nov-20, 06:53 PM
Hi John;
On a more serious note, some aspects of migration of complex systems towards the lowest energy states has been hypothesised and semi-formalised by 'Adrian Bejan', in his 'Constructal theory' … (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructal_law)

I'd also regard this theory with some skepticism however, as it is very abstract and not particularly well-grounded from physical principles …
Bejan also views the emergence of certain synergies between life structures and 'flows', which tend to migrate along pathways which facilitate the most efficient expenditures of energy.

(I only raise the Bejan theory to highlight that others have had similar 'rubbery' thoughts along similar lines of analogous physical phenomena).

Chaos theory would probably model these as 'attractors', which appear when dynamic systems get perturbed from their natural equilibrium states. Chaos theory has the benefit of physical evidence, and explanations by way of derivations from theory. At a certain level of detail, it is also characterises the underlying mechanism - modelling the behaviours as iterative, non-linear processes incorporating feedback at the core. (It is also considered 'mainstream', whereas I would think the other two, be would struggling to even get 'a toe in the door').

My interpretation is that engineers (e.g. Bejan's theory)--try to adapt physical principles upon real-world phenomena--and in doing so--must append mathematical approximations in the attempt to explain the observed phenomena that are more complex than the original.

When I cited "lowest energy" ---I (in my simplistic fashion) attempted to adapt (or mal-adapt) thermodynamic principles used in Physical Chemistry onto the OP. Using oft-cited (chemical principle) of lowest energy conformer (of a molecule) as a template to justify how an Inorganic structure could adapt a helical structure----I attempted to justify my post--but not in so-many words.

It is often cited in a sophomoric manner that organic chemistry is a sub-discipline of inorganic chemistry, in the sense that inorganic chemistry can (or is) be similar to Bio-chemistry (i.e. Arsenic-based life).

I guess, in concept, it is very intriguing but is more of a "straw-man" ----until proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Don J
2012-Nov-21, 04:49 AM
... But that said, i read it most of the way through as a purely theoretical study of how, under very specific circumstances, a system of plasma crystals could behave in ways anoloagous to a living system, not become a living system.

Then they suggested these theoretical plasma systems might have invented DNA.

http://www.rrp.infim.ro/2008_60_3/43-885-898.pdf

Not exactly they rather said it ....

"acts as a mould for chemicals to conform with to form a primitive
biological cell [3].
ETA fix quote
Summary
-------------------------------------
In this paper we start from the premise that self-organization is the single
“technique” known by the Nature to create living systems and implicitly all of their
structural components. From these components the most important one is the
eukaryotic nucleus of the cell considered by us as the successor of an ancestor
protocell created by an electric spark in a medium of the early Earth where water
and organic matter were not present [3]. Emerged in the same way but in an
environment where water and organic matter appeared, the hot plasma created by a
spark initiates the emergence by self-organization of the electric skeleton
(template)

Endowed with a flash memory, the electric skeleton commands
the further evolution into the first living unity namely the ancestor of the
eukaryotic nucleus. So, immediately after its emergence by self-organization the
first living unity lives by emission of biophotons. Possessing a code of information
learned during its emergence by self-organization (similar to that of the plasma
blob) the first living unity is able to encode new instructions offered in that case by
an environment that contains water and organic matter so that nonlinear
(enzymatic) reactions appear [3]. So it emerges the eukaryotic nucleus that locates
intelligent matter (DNA, nucleic acids and others) protected from the surroundings
by a rigid membrane. The possibility of such an evolution was recently proved by
simulation methods [4]."
.....................................
see text starting on page 11 and the other pages of the Pdf paper for complete description of the process:
http://www.rrp.infim.ro/2008_60_3/43-885-898.pdf


Because life necessarily exists as cells, a membranous enclosure able to
locate a microenvironment that differs qualitatively from the surroundings is life’s
first structural requirement. However, for living, the membrane must be able to
ensure the self-existence of the cell performing operations by which a preferential
exchange of matter and energy between the cell and the environment occurs. Until
recently, it was assumed that channels whose function is related to their
conformation control this exchange. This means that the channels exist in a few
stable conformation states that switch rapidly between them [15]. These states were
represented by: (1) a kinetic diagram consisting from a few conformation states and
the transition probability between them; (2) an energy level model consisting of a
few energy minima and the pathways between them. Data from biochemical
experiments were used to compute the switching probability and their associated
energy barriers between these different conformational states. The changes from
shapes that open the channels to those close them for the passage of matter (ions)
and energy can be emphasized by the patch clamp technique.
In this paper we start from the premise that self-organization is the single
“technique” known by the Nature to create living systems and implicitly all of their
structural components. From these components the most important one is the
eukaryotic nucleus of the cell considered by us as the successor of an ancestor
protocell created by an electric spark in a medium of the early Earth where water
and organic matter were not present [3]. Emerged in the same way but in an
environment where water and organic matter appeared, the hot plasma created by a
spark initiates the emergence by self-organization of the electric skeleton
(template) that act as a “electronic device” endowed with a flash memory. This
skeleton acts as a mould for chemicals to conform with to form a primitive
biological cell [3]. Endowed with a flash memory, the electric skeleton commands
the further evolution into the first living unity namely the ancestor of the
eukaryotic nucleus. So, immediately after its emergence by self-organization the
first living unity lives by emission of biophotons. Possessing a code of information
learned during its emergence by self-organization (similar to that of the plasma
blob) the first living unity is able to encode new instructions offered in that case by
an environment that contains water and organic matter so that nonlinear
(enzymatic) reactions appear [3]. So it emerges the eukaryotic nucleus that locates
intelligent matter (DNA, nucleic acids and others) protected from the surroundings
by a rigid membrane. The possibility of such an evolution was recently proved by
simulation methods [4]. For ensuring the continuity of the living process the
membrane was traversed by channels. For explaining the opening and enclosing of
these channels we started from the hypothesis [3] that a minuscule electric double
layer (EDL) borders each channel. Resulted after division from an initially
enclosed EDL every minuscule EDL possesses an algorithm of instructions
encoded in its flash memory. This means that local fluctuations can determine the
transition of the minuscule EDLs into a moving phase by a mechanism revealed by
plasma experiments. Thus, transiting into a moving phase, the minuscule EDL
transports matter and energy through the channels. Simultaneously, the minuscule
EDL sustains a proper potential drop through a mechanism that involves extraction
of thermal energy from the surroundings, a phenomenon that involves emission of
biophotons. Living in a medium where molecular oxygen is present, the
temperature required for ensuring the living process of a biological cell is ensured
by additional chemical processes that involving oxidations limit the life of the cell
[3]. The conversion of thermal energy extracted from the surroundings and also the
thermal energy resulting after chemical reactions into electric field energy involves
emission of biophotons.