So far, the only evidence of the existence of life anywhere in the universe is right here on Earth. Of course, our search for extraterrestrial organisms has barely begun, but given the ineffectiveness of our efforts so far, it could soon be the time to at least recognize the possibility that the appearance of life is a much less common event than it is. I supposed.
And if life is indeed a remarkably rare and precious thing, it might also be worth asking ourselves if we have an obligation to share it with other worlds.
That's the motivation behind a new proposal from Claudius Gros, theoretical physicist at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. Gros not only believes that we should extend life throughout the galaxy, but also devised a plan to do so, reports Futurism.
The plan, called the "Genesis Project," takes technology from another interstellar mission, "Breakthrough Starshot," an ambitious program to send the first probe to Alpha Centauri, our closest neighbor star. Both plans make use of laser propulsion systems that are capable of accelerating a spacecraft up to one fifth of the speed of light.
Unlike Breakthrough Starshot, however, the Genesis Project wants to do more than blow through a system at full speed. Want to slow down once it arrives, stay a while so you can drop your load: the pillars of life. The Genesis Project also intends to travel to a system much further away than Alpha Centauri. He wants to go to the TRAPPIST-1 system, which is a promising system for the perspective of life; It contains seven temperate terrestrial planets. The only downside is that it is approximately 10 times farther from us than Alpha Centauri.
In order to travel so far and remain long enough to unload its cargo, a 1.5-tonne spacecraft (as proposed by the Gros plan) would take approximately 12,000 years to reach its destination. (Yes, you've read that right: 12,000 years.) It's a testament to how big the space is between star systems.
Of course, if Gros's plan lights up green, no one who is alive today will be there to carry it out. There is not even a guarantee that human civilization will survive in the next 12,000 years. That's why Gros only plans to supply his spaceship with the building blocks for life, enough to drive the evolution. Humanity might not live, but life could.
But why should we take responsibility for spreading life throughout the galaxy? Gros believes that it is our moral imperative. Perhaps the propagation of life throughout the cosmos has been waiting for the development of a civilization like ours to take a step forward in the process. It may seem like a waste of resources, but maybe the future of life depends on it.
"Personally, I believe that life is beautiful, we should give it the opportunity to flourish, even if we never see the result, but for those who think we need to do interstellar projects for human benefit, Genesis is the only one that allows us humans they play an active role in the cosmos, "Gros said in an interview published in Science. "It's about whether humans really want to change part of our cosmos in an active way, or we just want to watch pbadively … The Genesis Project gives humans the opportunity to leave a legacy."