Thursday, November 22, 2007

Searching for microbial "cryptoterrestrials":

Are Aliens Among Us?

A more exciting but also more speculative possibility is that alternative life-forms have survived and are still present in the environment, constituting a kind of shadow biosphere, a term coined by Carol Cleland and Shelley Cop­ley of the University of Colorado at Boulder. At first this idea might seem preposterous; if alien organisms thrived right under our noses (or even in our noses), would not scientists have discovered them already?


shakespeare's ferret said...

Are aliens among us?

Yep, damn right. Or am I?

That _is_ the question.

Elan said...

Terence McKenna's "Understanding and the Imagination in the Light of Nature":

"Every week the science magazines are full of talk of strategies for locating and identifying extraterrestrial life. Well a very obvious practical and scientifically reasonable way to proceed would be to look at the DNA of various life-forms on earth, and see if there are any in which there is a wild statistical departure from the norm. Whenever you get an organism which is producing, or has genes that no other organism has, this is highly suggestive. Because species evolve incrementally out of each other. So you would expect that there would be a relative smoothness in the expression of chemical taxa.
There's an interesting book by Cyril Punampurama called Perspectives on the Problem of Extraterrestrial Communication. In it he outlines what he believes would be a general strategy for extraterrestrial contact that any kind of species would have to operate with if it were to seriously conduct a search through space. And the model posits a ship, which at a certain distance from its origin planet, must replicate itself. And then at a certain distance, replicate again. And then again, in order to keep the density of ships constant as the sphere of the area being explored expands. These ships could be as small as an animal cell. They don't have to be thought of as Star Trek-type ships."