It all depends on how you define life, according to researchers. If the key criteria are the ability to encode information and the ability of these media to reproduce themselves faster than they decay, then hypothetical monopole particles strung on cosmic strands – cosmic necklaces – could form the basis of life inside stars, much as DNA and RNA form the basis of life on Earth.
Although scientists have yet to discover cosmic filaments (one-dimensional linear objects) or monopoles (elementary particles with only one magnetic pole), many suggestions have been made about how they might behave.
Cosmic necklaces can form as a result of a series of phase transitions that break symmetry, according to new research. At the first stage, monopoles arise. In the second, threads. This, in turn, according to the study authors, can create a stable configuration of one monopole bead and two strands, which, in turn, can connect to form one-, two-, and even three-dimensional structures – very similar to atoms connected by chemical connections.
One-dimensional necklaces are unlikely to carry information. But more complex structures can potentially – and they can survive long enough to reproduce, powered by the fusion energy generated by the star. Despite the fact that the life of such self-reproducing nuclear species is short, due to evolutionary processes, they can become very complex over the generations. And such a form of life, according to Eugene Chudnovsky, could develop the intellect.
These life forms may indeed be present in stars, which tend to cool off faster than current models can explain. The accelerated cooling, which is still a mystery today, can be explained by the fact that these organisms use some of the star’s energy to survive. Thus, the places to search can be those stars whose brightness irregularly dims for no apparent reason.
“It’s an exciting idea that the universe could be filled with intelligent life that is so different from ours that we couldn’t recognize its existence,” says Eugene Chudnovsky.