When scientists search for life in the Universe, they tend to look for specific clues according to the available data: in most cases, researchers are looking for an Earth-like planet that orbits in the habitable zone of the parent star; Another important sign of life is the presence of water in the liquid phase on the planet. But what if our universe is teeming with a variety of forms and types of living things, the existence of which we can hardly imagine?
According to the work published in the journal Letters in High Energy Physics, some life forms exist in the most inhospitable places on Earth, which means they may well be common in the Universe. The authors of the study argue that they cannot rule out the existence of thriving species of living things in the bowels of the stars.
A cosmic string is a hypothetically existing relict astronomical object, which is a one-dimensional fold of space-time.
Analysis by physicists Luis Anchordoki and Evgeny Chudnovsky of the City University of New York has shown that some species of living things can exist even under the most extreme conditions. It all depends on what we mean by existence. If the main thing is the ability to encode knowledge, as well as the ability of information carriers to self-reproduction and self-destruction, then hypothetically existing magnetic monopoles, strung on cosmic threads like cosmic necklaces, can be the basis of life in the depths of stars, just as DNA and RNA lie at the beginning of all living things on Earth.
ScienceAlert cites the words of the co-author of the study, Evgeny Chudnovsky: “the information stored in RNA (or DNA) encodes a self-replication mechanism. As we know today, the emergence of life must have been preceded by the massive formation of random RNA sequences. This continued exactly until a sequence capable of self-reproduction was formed. We believe that a similar process could occur with the “necklaces” in the bowels of the stars. “
Magnetic monopole is a hypothetical elementary particle with a nonzero magnetic charge – a point source of a radial magnetic field. A magnetic charge is a source of a static magnetic field in the same way that an electric charge is a source of a static electric field.
It is assumed that strings and monopoles originated in the early universe, at the moment when its temperature began to decrease (shortly after the Big Bang). This peculiar broth of particles of quark-gluon plasma that fills the Universe underwent a symmetry-breaking segmental transition and condensed into matter, as vapor condenses into a liquid.
Note that, despite the fact that researchers have yet to discover cosmic strings (one-dimensional linear objects) or Monopoles (elementary particles with one magnetic pole), they have already thought a lot about the behavior of these hypothetical objects. Thus, in 1988, Chudnovsky and his colleague, theoretical physicist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University, predicted that cosmic strings could literally be captured by stars. In the depths of stars, turbulence stretched the strings until they formed an entire community of strings.
A one-dimensional necklace is unlikely to carry information. But more complex structures could potentially – since for reproduction it is necessary to survive for a rather long period of time, feeding on the fusion energy generated by the star. Compared to the lifetime of a star, its lifetime is a spark of light in the dark. It is important that such a spark manages to produce more sparks before extinguishing, thus ensuring a long lifespan of the species, ”write the authors of the scientific work.
The complexity arising from mutation and natural selection increases with the number of generations past. Hence, if the lifespan of self-replicating nuclear species is as short as the lifespan of many unstable composite nuclear objects, they can rapidly evolve towards enormous complexity. Theoretically, it cannot be ruled out that such a form of life can easily develop intelligence and even, perhaps, think critically, Chudnovsky said.
What this view would look like is a feast for the imagination. But we don’t need to know what they look like to look for signs of their presence. Because such organisms will use some of their host star’s energy to survive and reproduce, stars that appear to be cooling faster than stellar models can explain could be the hosts of what researchers call “nuclear life.”
“Since they will evolve very quickly, they could find a way to explore space beyond their star, as we did,” Chudnovsky told ScienceAlert. “They could connect and travel between the stars. Maybe we should look for their presence in space. “
Of course, this is a highly speculative topic, but ideas like these can be a great way to make new discoveries. It is for this reason that the authors of the scientific work plan to continue their line of research by developing models of cosmic necklaces in the stars. This may not lead us to contact with glittering stellar aliens, but even if they do not exist at all, it may give us a better understanding of cosmic strings and monopoles.