Friday, August 17, 2007

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it

An August 10, 2007 paper from the New Journal of Physics titled "From plasma crystals and helical structures towards inorganic living matter," presents computer models that suggest that plasma in stars or in interstellar space may self-organize into DNA-like helical structures and may exhibit properties that we normally associate with life.

Is it as Dr. McCoy used to tell Captain Kirk "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it?" I don't think so, though it does raise the question of what is life?

Life made from plasma is not a new idea in science nor science fiction. Such exotic forms of life have been considered in science before. In science fiction there are many books where humans not only encounter life within stars but intelligent life. See for example, Sundiver, by David Brin.