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Evolution of the universe: From Astrophysics to Astrobiology. Julian Chela-Flores The Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste, Italia and Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Caracas, Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela T he Origins: how, when and where it all started ,

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slide1

Evolution of the universe:

  • From Astrophysics to Astrobiology

Julian Chela-Flores

The Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste, Italia

and

Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Caracas,

Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

The Origins: how, when and where it all started,

Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare “Beniamino Segre”,

Roma, 22 May 2006

Astrophysics and Astrobiology:

A common search for our origins

Julian Chela-Flores

The Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste, Italia and

Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Caracas,

Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

SISSA

Highlight Colloquium

plan of the talk
Plan of the talk
  • The Origins: the universe (how, when and where).
  • The new science of astrobiology.
  • The Origins: life in the universe (how, when and where).
  • The search for an independent origin of life in the universe.
  • Can a human-level of intelligence evolve in an exoplanet?
the origins 1 the universe
The Origins:1. The universe

Part I

  • How?
  • When?
  • Where?

Not relevant in a Friedmann universe, given the geometric interpretation of classical General Relativity.

slide4

Evolution of the universe:

  • From Astrophysics to Astrobiology

How did the universe start?

Julian Chela-Flores

The Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste, Italia

and

Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Caracas,

Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

The Origins: how, when and where it all started,

Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare “Beniamino Segre”,

Roma, 22 May 2006

what is needed to understand how the universe started
What is needed to understand how the universe started?

1. We are at a point where experiments must guide us as to how the universe started and what will be its ultimate destiny.

We cannot make progress without these experiments.

2. The theories of the space sciences that need to be tested are:

The equations of General Relativity

G

+g

  • General Relativity and the
  • Standard Model.
what is needed to understand how the universe started1
What is needed to understand how the universe started?

1. We are at a point where experiments must guide us as to how the universe started and what will be its ultimate destiny.

We cannot make progress without these experiments.

2. The theories of the space sciences that need to be tested are:

The equations of General Relativity

G

+g

  • General Relativity and the
  • Standard Model.
what is needed to understand how the universe started2
What is needed to understand how the universe started?

1. We are at a point where experiments must guide us as to how the universe started and what will be its ultimate destiny.

We cannot make progress without these experiments.

2. The theories of the space sciences that need to be tested are:

The equations of General Relativity

G

+g

  • General Relativity and the
  • Standard Model.
a new source of insights into how the universe started the large hadron collider
A new source of insights into how the universe started: the Large Hadron Collider

With the LHC we will be able to search for new forms of matter with energies up to 14 TeV.

At some of the LHC detectors

we will be able to test the validity of:

  • Models of quantized

General Relativity

and

  • The Standard Model.
the contribution of space missions
The contribution of space missions

New experimental facilities such as LHC will

help, but especially relevant are a few of many

space missions to come:

  • Planck
  • CMBpol
  • LISA
the planck and cmbpol missions 2007 2014
The Planck and CMBpol missions(2007, >2014)

These missions aim to:

  • test gravitational waves produced after the Big Bang, by careful consideration of the ripples in the early universe.
the laser interferometer space antenna lisa
The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA)
  • LISA is jointly sponsored by ESA and NASA.
  • LISA will test the Theory of General Relativity, probe the early Universe, and will search for gravitational waves.
slide12

Evolution of the universe:

  • From Astrophysics to Astrobiology

When did the universe start?

Julian Chela-Flores

The Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste, Italia

and

Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Caracas,

Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

The Origins: how, when and where it all started,

Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare “Beniamino Segre”,

Roma, 22 May 2006

the anthropic approach
The anthropic approach
  • Explaining the values of the observables of the universe in terms of the possibility of favoring life is called ‘anthropic’.
  • These arguments are analogous to those originally used by Sir Fred Hoyle in the synthesis of chemical elements in stars.
the intelligibility of the accelerating universe
The intelligibility of the accelerating universe
  • If our universe is part of an ensemble of universes - a multiverse, each with different physical constants, it is conceivable that a fraction of them offer conditions favorable for life.
  • We may assume that we are living in a universe in which the physical constants, favor the existence of life for a few billion years.
new insights with the anthropic principle
New insights with the anthropic principle
  • The density of dark matter
  • The density of dark energy.

One example where these new

insights are needed is in the discussion of:

wmap the wilkinson microwave anisotropy probe
WMAP: The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
  • has demonstrated that the universe is compatible with an age of 13.7 Gyrs.
  • is composed of 73 percent dark energy, 23 percent cold dark matter, and only 4 percent atoms, and
  • will expand forever.

A detailed picture of the infant universe.

Colors indicate "warmer" (red) and "cooler" (blue) spots. The white bars

show the "polarization" direction of the

oldest light.

the new science of astrobiology
The new science of astrobiology

Part II

  • It is a space science that emphasizes the life sciences.
  • It is a life science that emphasizes the space sciences.

The main areas of interest are:

  • The destiny of life in the universe.
  • The distribution of life in the universe,

In common with

the space sciences

  • The evolution of life in the universe.
  • The origin of life in the universe,

In common with

the life sciences

lockmans hole
Lockmans Hole
  • The Chandra X-Ray Observatory (NASA, 1999) produced an image ‘Lockman Hole’ that is almost free of absorption by neutral hydrogen gas).
  • It shows hundreds of X-ray sources.
slide23
Destiny of life in the universe,related with the origin and destiny of the universeThe first area of astrobiology

Is the universe intelligible?

slide25

A red dwarf

9,000 light-years

away

An icy "super-Earth" (x13)

and hypothetical moon

the search for biosignatures in exoplanets
The search for biosignatures in exoplanets
  • The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) will consist of space telescopes.
  • Darwin will use three space telescopes (3 m in diameter) and a fourth spacecraft to serve as communications hub.
  • TPF and Darwin will go beyond the three previous techniques for exoplanet hunting: wobbling stars, transits and microlensing.

TPF, 2014 and 2020

Darwin, 2015

slide28

Evolution of the universe:

  • From Astrophysics to Astrobiology

The last two aspects of astrobiology:

evolution and

the origin of life in the universe

Julian Chela-Flores

The Abdus Salam ICTP, Trieste, Italia

and

Instituto de Estudios Avanzados, Caracas,

Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

The Origins: how, when and where it all started,

Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare “Beniamino Segre”,

Roma, 22 May 2006

International Journal of Astrobiology (in press)

the evolution of life in the universe universal darwinism the third area of astrobiology
The evolution of life in the universe,universal darwinism:The third area of astrobiology
  • The implications of human evolution in astrobiology will be discussed in Part V.

The theory of evolution discusses

the relative importance of:

(i) contingency,

(ii) gradual action of natural selection.

can the outcome of evolutionary processes be predictable
Can the outcome of evolutionary processes be predictable?
  • To a certain extent and in certain conditions, natural selection may be stronger than chance (Conway-Morris).
  • The ubiquity of evolutionary convergence argues against the view that biological diversity on Earth is unique.
  • Independent of historical contingency, natural selection is
  • powerful enough for organisms living in similar environments
  • (in the universe) to be shaped to similar ends (De Duve).
the origins 2 life in the universe the fourth area of astrobiology
The Origins:2. Life in the universe:(The fourth area of astrobiology)

Part III

  • How?
  • Where?
  • When?
slide32

How did life begin on Earth?

Volcanic emission of gas ( )

when did life begin
When did life begin?
  • The question is still undecided because of difficulties of interpretation of micropaleontology
slide35

Part IV

The search for an independent

origin of life in the universe

International Journal of Astrobiology (2006)

the images of voyayers and galileo
The images of Voyayers and Galileo

NASA, 1977-1989

The Solar System Family

Udaeus-Minos

intersection

Voyager

Galileo

The icy surface of Europa

slide40

gate

submersible

melter

black smoker

Horvath et al, 1997

the europa icy surface spectrometer data from near ir
The Europa icy surface (Spectrometer data from near IR)

and ‘patchy’

Distribution of

non-ice component

albedo per pixel

McCord et al,

Science 280 (1998), 1242

4 km/pixel

High resolution

albedo image

where is the s belt region of highest concentration of non ice elements
Where is the ‘S-belt’ region of highest concentration of non-ice elements?

Udaeus-Minos

intersection

S-belt

Conamara

Pywill

conceivable sources of sulphur stains on the icy and patchy surface of europa
Conceivable sources of sulphur stains on the icy and patchy surface of Europa
  • External:

Ions may be implanted from the Jovian plasma, or alternatively the source is

  • Internal:

Sulphur may be due to cryovolcanism, or we can ask:

  • Could the sulphur be biogenic?
the europa microprobe in situ explorer the empie study
The Europa Microprobe in-situ Explorer(The EMPIE study)
  • One way to decide on the sulphur source is to land on the icy surface of Europa.
  • The lander would have a set of 4 miniprobes (350 gm each). Expected penetration in ice is 72.5 cm.
  • Mass constraint for the microprobes would be 1.7 kg.

Tirso Velasco and colleagues

slide46

Part V

Can an exoplanet support a human-level of intelligence?

International Journal of Astrobiology (2003)

microorganism physiology
Microorganism physiology
  • Calcium channels are involved in protozoan movements.
  • In archaea (Haloferax volcanii),
  • voltage-dependent and mechano-
  • sensitive ion channels are known.

Paramecium

(protozoa)

invertebrate physiology
Invertebrate physiology
  • Cnidarians, such as medusa (a jellyfish) have a ring of tentacles with stinging cells called cnidocytes.
  • The tentacles are made up of two layers of tissue that include muscle cells and nerves, which, allowed them to have been the first animals to show animated behavior.
  • In the Adriatico (Grignano) jellyfish Aglantha action potentials (nerve nets) are known.

Aglantha digitale

(cnidarian)

in sponges ca and na dependent channels are also known
In sponges Ca- and Na-dependent channels are also known
  • A sponge is an animal that can grow on a sand flat. It is made of a layer of cells that pump water through their wall, allowing them to capture microscopic plankton for food.
  • Propagation of action potentials

is a topic of research (Raimundo

Villegas, IDEA, Caracas private

communication, 2007)

Tube sponge

cerebral ganglions
Cerebral ganglions
  • receive inputs from sensory organs and deliver outputs to muscles, via nerve filaments.

Notoplana acticola

(flatworm; platyhelminths)

the probability of a human level of intelligence arising in an independent evolutionary line

The probability of a human level of intelligence arising in an independent evolutionary line

The evolution of the simple nervous systems of invertebrates is information relevant to the study of the evolution of brain, as a correlate of intelligence.

  • New discoveries about the spread of the early humans may add further constraints on what we can expect from other intelligences (Homo floresiensis?)
the search of intelligent behavior
The search of intelligent behavior
  • The Drake equation assumes that evolution of intelligence, as known to us through human evolution, is a cosmic phenomenon.
  • Evolutionary convergence in the universe militates in favor of intelligent behavior being independent of human evolution.
  • Comparisons with other species may be fruitful. (Lori Marino has gone some way in this direction.)
slide53

What if life started outside the Solar System?

  • Brain evolution may offer hints of the probability that a human level of intelligence may arise in an independent evolutionary line.
  • The SETI project is an observational tool currently available to bioastronomers.
discussion the frontier between cosmological astrophysics and astrobiology
Discussion: the frontier between cosmological astrophysics and astrobiology

Part VI

  • A fleet of space missions will extend the frontier in a joint search for its common objectives.
  • With an independent origin of life in our solar system the doors to progress will inevitably open.
beyond astrobiology relation between science and the humanities
Beyond astrobiology:Relation between science and the humanities
  • A philosophical question: What is the place of humans in the universe?

Ongoing collaboration with the Spanish philosopher Roberto Aretxaga.

  • A theological question (‘why’):Is there purpose for life in the universe?

The anthropic principle has stimulated a dialogue at the frontier between science and the humanities (JCF in John Barrow et al, 2007 and Sci&Christian Belief 2005).

beyond astrobiology relation between science and the humanities1
Beyond astrobiology:Relation between science and the humanities
  • All references to the previous research can be downloaded from the Academic Page:

http://www.ictp.it/~chelaf