May 22, 2018 I Brett Tingley

Freeman Dyson Proposes “Noah’s Ark Eggs” to Seed Life Throughout the Universe

94-year-old mathematician and theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson is the mind behind many groundbreaking mathematical concepts and theoretical technologies related to harnessing the potential of outer space. Dyson proposed the Dyson tree, a genetically-engineered plant capable of growing inside a comet, producing a breathable atmosphere and allowing humanity to transform comets into natural space stations. Dyson is perhaps more famous for his Dyson sphere concept, a hypothetical megastructure which completely surrounds stars, harnessing 100% of its radiant energy. Such a structure was suspected in the strange saga of Tabby’s Star which played out throughout 2016 and 2017.

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Still kickin' out the jams at 94.

Dyson is back in the news this year with a new proposed technology the English-born visionary believes could seed life throughout the universe. Dyson calls his idea the “Noah’s Ark Egg” and describes it as a “way of making space colonies highly cost-effective.” In an interview with influential science fiction author Neal Stephenson and Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of the theoretical research center Institute for Advanced Study, Dyson outlined his vision for sending the eggs out into the cosmos in order to spread the Earth’s biodiversity to distant exoplanets and speed up the colonization process:

The Noah’s Ark Egg is an object looking like an ostrich egg, a few kilograms in weight. But instead of having a single bird inside, it has embryos — a whole planet’s worth of species of microbes and animals and plants, each represented by one embryo. It’s programmed then to grow into a complete planet’s worth of life. So it will cost only a few million dollars for the egg and the launch, but you could have about 1,000 human beings and all the life support, and all the different kinds of plants and animals for surviving. The cost per person is only a few thousand dollars, and it could enlarge the role of life in the universe at an amazingly fast speed.

Dyson says the technology to design these “eggs” may only be a hundred years away or so, but that many advances in embryology and robotics are needed before the eggs could be developed.

As far-fetched as the idea might sound, more and more evidence points to the idea that life on Earth may have come from space. It’s no stretch, then, to assume that it might also work the other way. Could humans seed life throughout the universe using technologies similar to Dyson’s proposed Noah’s Ark Eggs? It makes me wonder: what if one of these eggs went through a wormhole in the future and is caught in a causal loop? Could we have seeded life on Earth ourselves from the future as our planet dies around us? Has this all happened before and will it all happen again?

Nah, probably not. We all know a wizard in the sky made us with his powerful magic. Now close your eyes and thank him for your Hamburger Helper before he sends down more cancer to punish us.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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