A Strange Form of Life Could Flourish Deep Inside of Stars, Physicists Say

When searching for signs of life in the Universe, we tend to look for very specific things, based on what we know: a planet like Earth, in orbit around a star, and at a distance that allows liquid surface water. But there could, conceivably, be other forms of life out there that look like nothing that we have ever imagined before.
Just as we have extremophiles here on Earth – organisms that live in the most extreme and seemingly inhospitable environments the planet has to offer – so too could there be extremophiles out there in the wider Universe.
For instance, species that can form, evolve, and thrive in the interiors of stars. According to new research by physicists Luis Anchordoqui and Eugene Chudnovsky of The City University of New York, such a thing is indeed – hypothetically, at least – possible.
It all depends on how you define life. If the key criteria are the ability to encode information, and the ability for those information carriers to self-replicate faster than they disintegrate, then hypothetical monopole particles threaded on cosmic strings – cosmic necklaces – could form the basis of life inside stars, much like DNA and RNA form the basis of life on Earth.
“Information stored in the RNA (or DNA) encodes the mechanism of self-replication,” Chudnovsky told ScienceAlert.
“Its emergence must have been preceded by the massive formation of random RNA sequences until a sequence was formed capable of self-replication. We believe that a similar process would occur with necklaces in a star, leading to a stationary process of self-replication.”
Strings and monopoles are thought to have emerged in the early Universe, as it cooled down from the Big Bang, and the particle soup of quark-gluon plasma that filled it underwent a symmetry-breaking phase transition and condensed into matter – like vapour condensing into liquid.
Although we have yet to detect cosmic strings (one-dimensional linear objects) or monopoles (elementary particles with only one magnetic pole), a lot of thought has gone into how they might behave.
In 1988, Chudnovsky and his colleague, theoretical physicist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University, predicted that cosmic strings could be captured by stars. There, the turbulence would stretch the string until it formed a network of strings.
According to the new study, cosmic necklaces could form in a sequence of symmetry-breaking phase transitions. In the first stage, monopoles emerge. In the second, strings.
This can produce a stable configuration of one monopole bead and two strings, which in turn could connect to form one-, two-, and even three-dimensional structures – much like atoms joined by chemical bonds, the researchers say.
A one-dimensional necklace would be unlikely to carry information. But more complex structures potentially could – and they could survive long enough to replicate, feeding off the fusion energy generated by the star.
“Compared to the lifetime of a star, its lifetime is an instantaneous spark of light in the dark. What is important is that such a spark manages to produce more sparks before it fades away, thus providing a long lifespan of the species,” the researchers write.
“The complexity evolving through mutations and natural selection increases with the number of generations passed. Consequently, if lifetimes of self-replicating nuclear species are as short as lifetimes of many unstable composite nuclear objects are, they can quickly evolve toward enormous complexity.”
Hypothetically speaking, it’s perhaps possible that such a life-form could develop intelligence, and maybe even serious smarts, Chudnovsky says.
What such a species would look like is a feast for the imagination. But we don’t have to know what they look like to search for signs of their presence. Because such organisms would use some of the energy of their host star to survive and propagate, stars that seem to cool faster than stellar models can account for could be hosts for what the researchers call “nuclear life”.
Several such stars have been observed, and their slightly accelerated cooling is still a mystery. Stars that dim erratically without explanation coul…
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Rocket Lab Returns to Flight With Successful Electron Launch

Rocket Lab has completed its first post-COVID-19 launch after a failure last month. The company launched a 220-pound (100 kg) Earth-observation satellite using its Electron rocket.
The launch took place on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 11:05 PM EDT on August 30. It sets Rocket Lab back on track after the company’s failed launch on July, 4 where it lost seven satellites, including one from Canon.
RELATED: ROCKET LAB’S ELECTRON ROCKET SUCCESSFULLY REACHES ORBIT FOR THE FIRST TIME
Rocket Lab was able to determine that the July failure was caused by a single faulty electrical connection that led to the engine’s shutdown only a few minutes into the second stage burn, Engadget reports.
Since that failure, the company was able to “reliably replicate” the issue and fix it from happening again in future launches.
Rocket Lab’s mission was called ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical’ due to the nature of its payload – the Electron’s payload was the ‘Sequoia’ satellite from San Francisco-based Capella Space.
The ‘Sequoia’ uses synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instead of optical lenses to provide incredibly detailed Earth images. The space-based radar – which can be used for applications ranging from agriculture to security – is able to detect sub-0.5 meter changes on the Earth’s surface.
‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical’ is Rocket Lab’s 14th successful launch. Prior to the July 4th failure, the company had made 11 consecutive successful launches. Much like SpaceX, one of Rocket Lab’s primary missions is to reduce the cost of spaceflight. In future launches, it aims to recover first stage boosters using a clever helicopter-parachute system.
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A real son of a gun! Prince George watches dad on Balmoral shoot. The seven-year-old watched as Prince William, 38, and other senior royals spent the morning bagging birds in Corgarff, a short drive from Balmoral, on Saturday […] Read full article: A real son of a gun! Prince George watch…→ #Prince George


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