The hunt for aliens has typically been limited to nearby and distant planets, but new research throws that wide open. An international team of scientists have suggested that a “unique” form of life which would be completely different to the way we think of it could exist within a core of a star.
Much like extremophiles here on Earth – organisms which can survive in the harshest environments of our planet – a similar process may be happening within the huge balls of fire which litter the cosmos.
However, ‘life’ as we understand it may need to be redefined if the study is correct and beings are able to survive the intense heat of a star.
For reference, the core of the Sun is a staggering 15 million Celsius.
The key to life on Earth is RNA and DNA – RNA acts as a “messenger molecule”, carrying information from amino acids to genes, while DNA is the molecule which helps to decode and carry out the information.
Theoretically, according to the new research published in the journal Letters in High Energy Physics, cosmic strings of DNA and RNA could form in the core of a star and self-replicate, allowing for an extremely basic version of life.
Physicist Eugene Chudnovsky of The City University of New York told Science Alert: “Information stored in the RNA (or DNA) encodes the mechanism of self-replication.
“Its emergence must have been preceded by the massive formation of random RNA sequences until a sequence was formed capable of self-replication.
“We believe that a similar process would occur with necklaces in a star, leading to a stationary process of self-replication.”
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A one-dimensional “necklace” of a star would not be able to carry the information to produce life on its own, but as stars can survive for billions of years enough time could theoretically pass for something more complex to come to fruition.
The team wrote in their paper: “Compared to the lifetime of a star, its lifetime is an instantaneous spark of light in the dark.
“What is important is that such a spark manages to produce more sparks before it fades away, thus providing a long lifespan of the species.
“The complexity evolving through mutations and natural selection increases with the number of generations passed.
“Consequently, if lifetimes of self-replicating nuclear species are as short as lifetimes of many unstable composite nuclear objects are, they can quickly evolve toward enormous complexity.”
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Eventually, according to the researchers, this life could eventually become so complex that it could develop intelligence.
What’s more, as they would already be in the ultimate space ship, they could traverse the cosmos, according to Dr Chudnovsky.
He continued: “Since they would be evolving very fast, they could find a way to explore the cosmos beyond their star, as we have done.
“They could establish communication and travel between stars. Maybe we should look for their presence in space.
“It is a fascinating thought that the Universe may be packed with intelligent life that is so different from ours that we failed to recognise its existence.”