In 2003 research in plasma physics found a phenomenon that shows the characteristics of self-organizing life. This discovery is all about something called “Complex Space Charge Configurations (CSCCs)”. Found in the form of well-defined nearly spherical luminous gaseous bodies known as anode glows and more recently as fireball are phenomena frequently observed in plasma devices. This discovery, when considered in the light of the discovery of bacteria that consumes electricity and excretes electricity directly with no need for all that inefficient biological process stuff, has some interesting implications
This is not science fiction but science fact. The “Big Book of Universal Life” may have more pages than once believed possible. The tree of life will eventually be a shrub when we learn all the ways that life is possible. Mircea Sanduloviciu and his colleagues at Cuza University have created blobs of plasma gas that can grow, replicate and communicate – meeting most of the currently understood requirements for biological cells. Without inherited material, they cannot be described as alive by our narrow definition, but the researchers believe these curious spheres may offer a radically new explanation for how life began here on Earth and possibly on other planets.
Is the drive for self-organization innate in the Universe? Is it like how fractal mathematics seems to be ingrained into the nature of our reality from the microscopic to the objects in the Universe the size of galaxies. Fractals and their special brand of organizations are found almost everywhere. Is there some self-organizing property of the Universe that is compatible or advantageous for life? Is there an invisible geometry that creates the forces that are conducive to life formation? An emergent force that guides the formation of situations where life in the Universe can take hold? A force that permeates the Universe like fractal dimensionality apparently does?
If so, how and by what system of influence?
These questions are at this time beyond our science. That is why I am guessing not much has been published on this phenomena since 2003. No scientific avenue to explore next. It is a curiosity but an unactionable one. Does not mean that it was not an important discovery. Just one in which our current vision does not recognize the possibilities. The possible extrapolations of what significance this discovery might mean are in the eye of the beholder and the minds of the researcher.
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Let’s behold the possibilities…
From the introduction of the research paper “Experimental Investigation of Multiple Self-Organized Structures in Plasma”
Complex space charge configuration emerges by self-organization in front of an electrode immersed in plasma when its potential is increased at a certain critical value. Consisting from a nucleus protected from the surrounding plasma by an electrical double layer, the complexity reveals an internal structure and behaviour which remind us primitive organisms. Thus the complexity is not static but stationary open system in which continuous decay is constantly compensated by substance and energy from the surrounding plasma. Endowed with a special kind of memory the complexity can work as an intelligent multifunctional system and consequently it is also able to perform innovations after selective interaction with an environment in evolution. Additionally, the complexity is able to replicate by division…
Most biologists think living cells arose out of a complex and lengthy evolution of chemicals that took millions of years, beginning with simple molecules through amino acids, primitive proteins and finally forming an organized structure. But if Mircea Sanduloviciu and his colleagues at Cuza University in Romania are right, the theory may have to be completely revised. They say cell-like self-organization can occur in a few microseconds. This is a level of order which happens at speeds unimagined.
One of the astonishing behavior of the CSCC is its ability to replicate by splitting in two independent CSCCs. Recently this phenomenon observed in plasma  was considered as an example of a self-replicating machine …
The researchers studied environmental conditions similar to those that existed on the Earth before life began when the planet was enveloped in electric storms that caused ionized gasses called plasmas to form in the atmosphere. They inserted two electrodes into a chamber containing a low-temperature plasma of argon – a gas in which some of the atoms have been split into electrons and charged ions. They applied a high voltage to the electrodes, producing an arc of energy that flew across the gap between them, like a miniature lightning strike.
Sanduloviciu says this electric spark caused a high concentration of ions and electrons to accumulate at the positively charged electrode, which spontaneously formed spheres. Each sphere had a boundary made up of two layers – an outer layer of negatively charged electrons and an inner layer of positively charged ions. Trapped inside the boundary was an inner nucleus of gas atoms. The amount of energy in the initial spark governed their size and lifespan. Sanduloviciu grew spheres from a few micrometers up to three centimeters in diameter.
A distinct boundary layer that confines and separates an object from its environment is one of the four main criteria generally used to define living cells. Sanduloviciu decided to find out if his cells met the other criteria: the ability to replicate, to communicate information, and to metabolize and grow. He found that the spheres could replicate by splitting into two. Under the right conditions, they also got bigger, taking up neutral argon atoms and splitting them into ions and electrons to replenish their boundary layers.
Our measurements demonstrate that the temperature inside CSCC is not much greater that the temperature of the surrounding plasma (in the order of tens of Celsius grades). Changing the nature of the gas it is possible to evidence that the CSCC is able to self-adapt to the new environmental conditions by performing innovations evidenced by changing its internal space charge configuration but also its dynamical behavior…
Finally, they could communicate information by emitting electromagnetic energy, making the atoms within other spheres vibrate at a particular frequency. The spheres are not the only self-organising systems to meet all of these requirements. But they are the first gaseous “cells”.
Sanduloviciu even thinks they could have been the first cells on Earth, arising within electric storms. “The emergence of such spheres seems likely to be a prerequisite for biochemical evolution,” he says.
Perhaps the most intriguing implications of Sanduloviciu’s work are for life on other planets. “The cell-like spheres we describe could be at the origin of other forms of life we have not yet considered,” he says. Which means our search for extraterrestrial life will need a drastic re-think. If this emergent behavior is a real force at work in the Cosmos is really good news for us. It could be another tertiary consideration when considering if life abounds in the Universe. We are now in the position to know, more possible ways than ever that life could take purchase. The more ways we can identify that life might form the more certain we can be that we are not alone. It is looking more and more like we are the latecomers to a really good cosmic party.
Experimental Investigation of Multiple Self-Organized Structures in Plasma – https://www.nipne.ro/rjp/2005_50_9-10/1089_1095.pdf – Free
Cell-like space charge configurations formed by self-organization in laboratory – https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0708/0708.4067.pdf – Free
Ball Lightning as a Self-organized Complexity – https://arxiv.org/abs/0708.4064 – $$$
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