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Astrobiology - an opposing view


Paul Shapshak1*



1Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Department of Internal Medicine, University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, FL 33606, USA;




Article Type




Received June 19, 2018; Revised June 30, 2018; Accepted June 30, 2018; Published June 30, 2018



The use of quantum computers and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is imperative for use in space exploration and astrobiology investigations. Considerable progress has been made since the commencement of origin of life laboratory and theoretical studies in the mid 20th century. However, the sheer amount of data amassed to date in all these studies including exoplanetary and astrobiological studies is enormous and increasing steadily. Thus, there is the need for AI and quantum computers. As AI develops, it will become crucial in the development of the statistical and database programs that are indispensable to analyze the huge quantity of cumulative data. Diverse biotic and geochemical processes have been shown to produce methane on the Earth. Elsewhere in the solar system, on other planets (e.g. Mars) and moons (e.g. Titan), as well as on exoplanets, abiotic processes are considered the primary sources of methane. Astronomers and astro-biologists infer that the presence of methane supports the possibility of the presence of at least microbial life. In addition, on the Earth, there are also degradative reactions that include smog-related compounds and hazes that are produced as artefacts of intrinsic methane geochemistry as well as due to the human footprint. Astronomers and astro-biologists envision life, away from the Earth, elsewhere in the solar system and on exoplanets, to occur under conditions similar or related to terrestrial life (goldilocks zone) conditions. These environments that are compatible with life as we know it on the Earth, include planetary orbits, gravitation, star radiant energy, presence of liquid water, and compatible temperatures and pressures, found on Earth. Generally, extraterrestrial life is also considered to resemble the biochemistry, molecular biology, and physiology of life on Earth - thus the focus on detection of supposed biosignatures of microbial life that resemble the Earth’s. Nevertheless a crucial factor is absent in these deliberations – viruses. On the Earth, viruses that infect Archaea and bacteria form local and widespread global ecosystems. These viruses play a crucial role and facilitate the molecular transfer of host genes among various hosts. This essential function is underestimated in evolutionary as well as astrobiological speculations. Thus, it is of substantial importance to consider the roles that viruses may have played during the origin of life as well as in any exobiology.



Artificial Intelligence, quantum computers, astrobiology, exobiology, life, origin, ecosystem, Archaea, bacteria, viruses, space exploration, exoplanets, moons, asteroids, comets, goldilocks zone, methane, greenhouse gasses, haze, smog, NASA, ESA, crashed spacecraft, rovers, solar system contamination by terrestrial organisms.



Shapshak. Bioinformation 14(6): 346-349 (2018)


Edited by

P Kangueane






Biomedical Informatics



This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. This is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.