Recently, we have been looking at the question of why we don’t see aliens, with as many as 75 hypotheses offered. But one astrobiologist has a bold suggestion: Why not just seed life on various suitable exoplanets, once we have the means to do it? We need not search for extraterrestrial life if we can learn how to create it ourselves.
There are a lot of reasons to think very carefully about doing something like that, as Betül Kaçar (pictured), director of the NASA Astrobiology Consortium MUSE, acknowledges:
Rather than regarding the overwhelming majority of planets and moons as failures unworthy of further study, we should instead recognise them for what they are: they’re not empty. In fact, a very high number of them might have been (and might yet be still) on the cusp of flourishing with life, if provided the specific potential to do so. What if a significant percentage of those planets and moons require only a few hundred kilogrammes of ‘the right chemical stuff’ to spark their own, unique biotic revolutions?
Betül Kaçar, “Do we send the goo?” at Aeon
She is careful to point out that she is not talking about “terraforming” (blasting a planet into becoming more like Earth) but “protospermia”: “What if a significant percentage of those planets and moons require only a few hundred kilogrammes of ‘the right chemical stuff’ to spark their own, unique biotic revolutions?”