Space whales

I’ve been following the thread as best I can. From reading everything, there does not seem to be any specific evidence explaining how an organism could reliably get into space, gather material while in space, and how an organism could naturally evolve the traits needed.

I’ve seen geysers mentioned, but since the acquiring of such traits would cover over thousands of years of evolution. Geysers are not a reliable method long term. Various means of organic engines have been mentioned, but there is no explanation to the pressures that would result in that forming.

Since material is required to create fuel and to grow, there is also no mention of the methods needed to feed while keeping the internal pressure in check. Solar energy has been suggested, but acquiring other matter becomes difficult in the emptiness of Space.

There has also been talk of hibernating to reduce the metabolic pressures of the organism. Hibernation is not a magical cure. When tartigrades and other organisms go into hibernation, they become completely oblivious to their surroundings. Which means your organism would be randomly floating about in space with no control over where it ends up. There are limits to everything, so its quite likely the organism would get smashed to pieces by an asteroid, or die before reaching a place with suitable resources.

In regards to the guy who says, “free yourself from the tethers of earth”, he has not provided any examples or hypothetical materials that could exist. I would like more specifics on how an organism could evolve to reach a space living state.

As it stands, it is unlikely for a player to be able to evolve space whales in Thrive. The best you can hope for is to see cameos of such creatures in other space themed games.

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@Topcode
You cherry picked certain parts of my post, assumed I didn’t read yours entirely (which I did, multiple times), and didn’t address the issues I clearly pointed out.

@Evolfire
I completely agree with you.

I just found out “whale” wasn’t a random name given.

Anyway.

I think

  1. A radiotrophic species can be brought from the surface (like the mushrooms on earth) for forming the space whale symbiote.

  2. The specie of the player can evolve radiotrophy (animals have melanin on earth) by using mitochondria

  3. A normal plant may be brought from the surface, but its chloroplasts may evolve to do radiosynthesis and the animal part may supply the melanin

Arguing for or against a concept wouldn’t change the outcome. A person trying to prove a thing may disprove it, or a person trying to disprove it may prove it(1). I think questions and answers is a good way to keep the conversation going.

Topcode

This correlation makes no sense.

If you are talking about molten rock, it is in the wrong temperature

don’t carry large creatures into space. They can only carry microbes between planets. Also these methods of getting to space should be repeating frequently so that creatures can go halfway there, adapt, go a little bit more, etc. until they can survive in space full time.

What? Growing doesn’t result in suddenly not being connected to the ground.

Is it worth growing higher even if there isn’t air around (and carrying carbondioxide, because suddenly you can’t get it from the environment)? There is also an upper limit to carrying water, (2) which would now evaporate into space.

Usually, people are aware what the other person is talking about. If people have two contradicting data about reality, a source on that matter is necessary.

That is not what I think he said. You said why that idea is bad, and he said “why that idea is bad” is bad[1].

Space whales not being on Earth could mean that there is a reason preventing their existence [2]. It is called the Copernican principle[3].

According to wikipedia, ecosphere is a planet sized ecosystem. The correct term would be “Closed ecological system”. I called it a terrarium, because that was the first word that came to my mind.

This rant is unnecessary, it doesn’t talk about your arguments, and you can’t know what is wrong of it if someone doesn’t tell you[4], but that is just the unfortunate reality.

TristanMisja

Both internal and external fertilisation requires foreign objects to enter the body. This can be ensured with a system similar to airlock. The creatures can also afford to take some damage, as mating once a lifetime is sufficient.

The organism doesn’t use fuel for energy, because it already does photo/radiosynthesis. In a closed system[5], it wouldn’t survive for long without photo/radiosynthesis. It makes resource gathering a race against time and makes hibernation impossible(how slow can that be?)

Comet nucleus - Wikipedia

That ecosystem would form because[6] it is the default option. Having an open system (constantly losing mass) makes the creature shrink and disappear.

This is a good solution, as far as I can see, it works.

Evolfire

Geysers are powered by geothermal energy which is constant for millions/billions of years.

Because the pressure isn’t falling. It shouldn’t fall. A volume where fuel is stored can be emptied without affecting other regions.

what is that

This is like saying frigate birds (3) would fall to the ground mid flight. Or bears would freeze in winter because their body temperature fell below zero.

Hibernation is just slowed metabolism. The creature can be conscious, aware, just experiencing time hundreds of time slower. It is done to save energy, it is not ceasing all bodily functions because it is a microscopic organism.

Asteroids don’t try to hit you like guided missiles. Two random moving objects in space have a very low probability of colliding with each other.

If someone throws you a tennis ball you can instinctively catch it with your hand because your brain evolved in this environment, it knows how things move. It is the same for space whales. They don’t have to accelerate towards different directions for the entire journey inside the solar system. They can predict where they will end up.

I don’t think people breaking a rule should make the topic itself undiscussable. Reddit doesn’t get much attraction, underwater civ subreddit only has 4 posts and no comments.


I think pressure and temperature problems were (in principle) solved. Tell me if you don’t agree. I will now talk about the problem of layering. I will talk about movement and access to materials tomorrow[7]. “Would an unguided evolution do these things?” needs to be addressed for each question separately.

The layering problem could be summarized as “how can there be a layer that protects against the radiation and vacuum of space, but allows photosynthesis at the same time?” I talked about the necessity of photosynthesis before.

My solution was “place the plant cells outside the radiation defense. Let them be exposed to radiation, and replace them as they die” which isn’t a good solution[8]. So I decided to look at why radiation is dangerous, and how can the species that resist it resist it.

  • Naked mole rats

They don’t catch cancer. They have a large sugar molecule called hyaluronan which “physically cages potential cancer cells”(4), preventing them from replicating exponentially and forming a tumor. A cancer tissue can only form if all the cells become cancerous independently of each other. While cancer resistance may seem a waste of DNA points(5), in some similarly sized rats and mice, cancer is the cause of 90% of deaths.(6)
As space whales transition to spending more time in the orbit, they may use the same molecule or another molecule for the same tactic.

  • Cockroaches

50% of cockroaches survive being subjected to 1000 rads, 74% of flour beetles survived the same amount of radiation. (7) So how do these insects survive absorbing so much radiation?

Ionizing radiation can break any molecule, but there doesn’t seem to be a big issue when they aren’t’ dividing. Space whales can have periods when they cover themselves completely and not do photo/radiosynthesis. What that translates to in gameplay is hp only increasing if you can get away from the predators and enter heal mode. Growth happens in many stages,(like caterpillar turning into a butterfly). Photosynthesis is done between the stages for storing fat/carbohydrate, and those reserves are burned during growth.

  • Radiotrophic fungi

If they are constantly exposed to radiation, they must be able to resist it right?

There is even radiotrophic fungi grown in international space station.

So, melanin protects against radiation. I didn’t needed to research the previous two.

How could melanin evolve? It is at first just used for radiation shielding, when the creatures start to spend a long amount of time in the upper atmosphere, they can find a way to generate energy from it.

Let’s look at the types of radiation.
penetrativeness

There are two types of ionizing radiation, either it is light or a particle[9]. Alpha (proton) and beta (helium nuclei) radiations are stopped very easily by any material. HZE (heavier nuclei) radiation constitutes 1% of particle radiation(13), but they carry more energy so they can “have a significant biological impact that is comparable to that of protons”(14).
radiation type
They are produced during solar storms, or come from outside the solar system(GCR, galactic cosmic rays). They can “penetrate many centimeters of tissue or other materials”. (14).
There are sea creatures with centimeters of transparent tissue. (photosynthesis and radiosynthesis[10] can be done at the same time)

Neutrons are a different type of radiation radiations.

The most amount of particle radiation that reaches deep inside the tissues could be neutron radiation.
The radiotrophic fungi grown in the international space station was shielded from alpha and beta radiation,

but not electromagnetic radiation, which they used as an energy source.
space radiation

The source doesn’t say anything about adverse effects due to neutron radiation.

  • Inflexibility

If the creature has a glass exoskeleton to stay pressurised, then it can’t move its limbs. If the glass plates were arranged like the scales of a snake^, it could move, but how much gas would leak from the gaps between the scales? Human skin is gas-tight by itself(17)[11], so the skin exposed to space[12] wouldn’t have a leakage problem. The next question becomes, can a tissue like human skin exist while being transparent? If we give up on trying for photosynthesis, there is no question left, human skin can carry high levels of melanin and the scales wouldn’t need to be made from glass.

How would the exoskeleton evolve? The scales need to exist beforehand, and as the transition to space is done, they are modified to apply pressure to the organism so that the water inside its tissues can remain liquid.


  1. saying “anything is possible” helps no argument. And saying a thing that isn’t observed can exist needs arguments ↩︎

  2. the other possibility is that they could have evolved, but haven’t ↩︎

  3. we should assume we live in a typical planet ↩︎

  4. unless you notice it by yourself ↩︎

  5. closed ecological system/terrarium ↩︎

  6. letting a moss grow on your back model ↩︎

  7. or later ↩︎

  8. before they die, can they generate more energy than their replacement cost? ↩︎

  9. proton/neutron ↩︎

  10. why not do radiosynthesis, if you already have melanin, which you use for radiation protection? ↩︎

  11. I was googling “do astronauts sweat outside of spacesuits” with no results and thinking about plant cuticles but a source I linked before already said human skin doesn’t leak air ↩︎

  12. if it is like human skin ↩︎

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i have made the a group chat called space whales without the main two reasons for the original thread being put in slow mode if you want to be included and are not burgeonblas or 50gens ask and you will be added unless you were purposefully removed due to cherry picking or saying things with little to no basis in known science

If you understood gravity it would make sense
Because after the very first reply it is clear you literally do not understand gravity, I’m not going to bother reading anything else that you have written. I simply do not care enough to deal with you. It’s actually quite funny how someone who doesn’t understand gravity, is trying to argue about anything regarding space.

That I just don’t care enough? Sure I guess that could be a problem to some people.

Aright I don’t mean to be rude, but if you did then you didn’t understand most of it. In the group dm I’m rewriting it to be a little easier to understand and I’ll even put some helpful links, but if you still don’t understand after that there is no hope.

You do know that I have a name and everyone knows who you are talking to… not sure what your goal is.

Well too bad you ain’t gettin much of that.

Actually, it’s the contrary.

A low gravity planet would have a shorter atmosphere because it wouldn’t be capable of trapping gasses that are too far away from it’s core.

@Topcode it is the truth, you can’t prove otherwise because it is true.

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The posts in this thread seem to care much more about proving the ‘other’ wrong instead of having a pleasant and civil conversation about the possibility of space whales.

Please try to be more polite and respectful

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if anyone other than burgeonblas and 50gens wants to join a version of this thread that the goal of it to perfect an argument for or against space whales until this thread gets closed(if it does) @me and and i will add you

If you want to make sure things dont turn into a Belgiumshow in that thread, feel free to add me

2 Likes

@willow Re-add me please

@willow I haven’t even posted on this thread but I guess I’ll join, I’d love to see space whales in the game, so I’ll try to help.

Let’s do some calculations. Here are some of the ways of moving in or towards space.

Exiting the planet Moving between asteroids Moving between planets
Geysers 1
Rockets 2 3 6
Solar Sails 4 7
Jumping 5

Exiting the planet is the most important part. If it can’t be done, there is no reason to discuss the other ones.[1]

  1. Geysers/plumes/fumaroles

There are two forces that act on a creature standing on a geyser, drag and gravity. Let’s assume that the speed of the plumes is constant for some length and the creature accelerates until it reaches a terminal velocity. And let’s say that the creature is 50 kilograms and it is like a spider, it can synthesize webs and knit parachutes for itself. Could it, if it lived in Enceladus, exit the planet?

terminal velocity

terminal

  • Mass of the creature: 50 kg
  • Gravity in Enceladus: 0.113 m/s^2
  • Density of the plumes: 5.5 × 10^-11 kg/m^3
  • Surface area for a large parachute: 45 m^2
  • Typical drag coefficient for a parachute: 1.75
  • Maximum speed of Enceladus’s plumes: 500 m/s
  • Escape velocity of Enceladus: 240 m/s

Putting the numbers in, the value we get for the terminal velocity is 51078 meters per second.

That velocity is with respect to the plumes. To get the speed with respect the ground, we subtract the speed of falling(51078m/s) from the speed of the plumes(500m/s) and get (-50578m/s).

The creature can’t be lifted from the ground.

The smallest value in that formula was the density of the plumes. Barely anything is exiting the geysers. Enceladus also doesn’t have an atmosphere which can support life. If Enceladus had the same atmosphere as Saturn’s other moon Titan, and its plumes were as dense as that atmosphere, could it then be used to move into space?

  • Density of Titan’s atmosphere: 1880kg/m^3

Terminal velocity now becomes 0.0087 m/s. The creature is sent with a speed of 499,9913m/s and exits the planet with 259,9913. So it is possible.

What is the density of an atmosphere that can have liquid water?

ideal gas law for density
  • A gas that can be high quantities in an atmosphere: Nitrogen(molar mass 28)
  • Smallest temperature for liquid water: 273 kelvin
  • Smallest pressure for liquid water: 0.00604 atm
  • R: 0,08205

It is 7.5 x 10^-3

density comparison
  • The density of Enceladus’s plumes: 5.5 × 10^-11 kg/m^3
  • The smallest density needed in Enceladus’s plumes to go to space[3]: 2.5 × 10^-6 kg/m^3
  • Smallest atmosphere density for liquid water: 7.5 x 10^-3 kg/m^3
  • The density of the highest geyser(91 meter) on earth[4]: 6,4 × 10^-1 kg/m3
  • Density of Titan’s atmosphere: 1,9 x 10^3 kg/m^3

If the plumes are gas, they would have the same pressure as the atmosphere, and a similar density. The smallest density in the atmosphere supporting liquid water is three orders of magnitude higher than the smallest density needed for carrying the creatures. So if there is life and geysers going to space, those geysers can lift the creatures.

But can there be such geysers in a planet with an atmosphere?

In order to be able to reach space, geysers should move faster than a planets escape velocity. Enceladus has a very small escape velocity (200m/s). Europa’s escape velocity is way higher(2000m/s) and it may also have geysers that reach space(2). So let’s take 2000m/s as the maximum speed of a geyser. But there is also the issue that geysers are slowed down if they are in an atmosphere.

If we say that a geyser is slowed down by a factor of 2.5 in 1 atm, 2000m/s becomes 800m/s. That is the maximum escape velocity a planet can have for geyser users to be able to become space farers.

But can such a planet exist? I tried that in universe sandbox.

I placed earth 1 au away from the sun. It was 99.8% similar to Earth, and had a 97.7% likelihood of having lawk life. It was losing 10^-41 grams of atmosphere per second.

Then I lowered its mass to 0.000403 earth masses to make the escape velocity 800m/s and it the mass of its atmosphere to 0.0981 earth atmospheres to make the surface pressure 1 atm. The planet still had liquid water, an average temperature of 13 degrees Celsius, a maximum temperature of 29 degrees and minimum temperature of -273 degrees(despite an atmosphere?). The gravity was 0.0651 g’s. The similarity to earth was 52% and the likelihood of having lawk life was 0%[5]

It was now losing 113 kilograms of atmosphere per second.

I tried increasing the magnetic field a lot or removing it completely, but it stayed between 105 and 115 kilograms per second.

The total atmosphere is 5 x 10^17 kilograms, by losing 100 kilograms a second, it would take 5 x 10^15 seconds or 158.5 million years to completely lose its atmosphere, which is a very short time.

I thought Mars lost its atmosphere because it didn’t have magnetic field, if it was inside the magnetic field of a gas giant, it could have kept its atmosphere. But turns out the magnetic field doesn’t have such a large effect. 800 m/s is a very low escape velocity, the gas atoms can exit the planet just with their kinetic energy. Geysers aren’t a viable way to exit a planet. Either there needs to be geysers faster than the ones in Europa, or somehow they need to not slow down in the atmosphere.

The only remaining option is rockets launched from a high gravity planet. So I’ll talk about that the next time. [6]


  1. unless microbes in space can become multicellular and evolve one of those abilities ↩︎

  2. kg/m^3 ↩︎

  3. from terminal velocity formula ↩︎

  4. steam(18) at 344 kelvin, 1 atm ↩︎

  5. I don’t know what is the problem ↩︎

  6. I seem to research at a very slow rate ↩︎

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copied and pasted refined version of my example argument for space whales refined with the chat i made for the purpose of refining an argument for or against space whales

space whales are possible if they have their cells separated from the outside world by having a meter thick layer of melanin suspended in water that uses the atp from the melanin being hit by ionizing radiation to fix carbon using water to make oxygen surrounding the body and surrounded by an exoskeleton made of a tissue comprised of a smooth frustule encased uv transparent cell that just dies as it does not need to upkeep the frustule in the shape of interlocking scales or segments with a tough cellulose membrane keeping the melanin filled water from spilling out of the organism and that is just for the “too much ionizing radiation” and “too little pressure causing water to boil or freeze” parts.

they could have symbiotic organisms to use as any type of limb or organ that has the same uv defense mechanism as them for example an organism that it filters it’s blood through to remove toxic compounds and elements on the inside of the exoskeleton, an organism that is partially inside the exoskeleton that has a 1 meter thick layer of melanin water and an exoskeleton and has a 3 chambered mouth that has 1 chamber always filled with melanin water for crushing up the food without the risks of the UV and then it sends the food to it’s stomach where it is broken down in a solution of 30% hydrochloric acid and absorb enough to increase it’s mass by 10% is and then the rest is sent to the main organism and that’s mainly just for the “what about when it eats a toxic element/chemical” and “but where is it getting the matter from” parts.

now to address the acceleration/deceleration problems… it would use hydrogen peroxide made from radioactive isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen stored in large inorganic tanks that have an average pressure of ~5 atmospheres and excreted at extremely high velocities through the type of funnel that normal chemical rockets use and it would be electrocuted to ignite it and increase thrust. this structure would be on the front and back, front for deceleration back for acceleration. “but what would happen if it ran out of radioactive hydrogen and/or oxygen” simple, it uses stable isotopes instead.

now. can photosynthesis fuel a brain, a spark plug, a mouth for eating asteroids, a circulatory system, and sensory organs, and a mechanism for gathering heavier atoms of hydrogen and oxygen and then making them into H2O2. the short answer: yes. the long answer: all a space whale like this would need is a large organ that uses fructose to fuel it’s cells and fills any space not being used by required organs or it’s circulatory system with a mixture of a protein that produces fructose or glucose with the energy from photorespiration pigments at a speed of 30 molecules per second and a set of chemicals that use all ionizing/low energy uv/visible light to produce usable energy for said water using monosaccharide production protein and has a circulatory system to take any glucose and bring it to the main body. if the oxygen content of the blood drops too low stem cells will congregate on two spots on exact opposite sides of the main body where there is optimal light and specialize into the cell types necessary for said organ if the co2 content drops too low the o2 using cells will multiply until there is a perfect energy and co2/o2 balance

“how would it be able to evolve?” it would start as a diatom adjacent organism that keeps it’s organelles inside a vacuole that the outside is just solid melanin unless touching a completely opaque surface(ex: a meteor)

“how would it get the materials to reproduce?” when touching a meteor it would move the vacuole to the edge of the cell that is the darkest and open a door on the frustule which stays closed because it only opens inwards and it always opens into a vacuole that cannot have it’s shape changed by low pressure and engulf sediment by depressurizing a gas vacuole and performing phagocytosis and then it re-pressurizes the gas vacuole to suck the cell back into the frustule and keeps the vacuole at a much higher pressure than it was originally to take in more sediment than it seems like it should be able to and closes the door. after the door is closed the cell starts producing more cytoplasm and melanin and repeat the process until both have doubled in volume. after that it starts going through the stages of mitosis but instead of performing cytokinesis it opens a door a bit and releases a small amount of cytoplasm encased in a fluid silicon encased double lipid membrane that contains mostly silicon and proteins for building a solid smooth frustule and after this frustule is built half of the melanin is dislodged and suspended in fluid which is used to move it to the other frustule and solidify it. after the melanin is a solid the door opens all the way and the gas, cytoplasm, DNA, and organelles are all distributed evenly between the frustules. once everything is distributed evenly the doors shut and the frustules separate.

“what is the gas?” a mixture of CO2, H2O and O2. “where is it getting the water from?” ice dust. “where is it getting the carbon from?” sediment.

“but melanin turns UV into heat. how does it not just boil?” it uses a protein that uses heat to rapidly fix ADP into ATP. “where is it making the ADP?” cellular processes that use ATP. “where is it getting ATP other than just recycling it?” a metabolosome using endosymbiotic protist. “how is it getting the glucose for the metabolosomes?” carbon fixing protein that does exactly what RuBisCO does but more efficiently and faster while being lighter.

“but how does the space whale not just cook itself?” same thing on a larger scale. surface area grows slower than volume
“how would it deal with toxic waste?” it would pass it through an endosymbiotic organ that can process the toxic waste
“but it would just steal resources.” … … … what do you think the definition of endosymbiote is? internal parasite? no it means internal organism that supplies it’s host with resources in return for resources and safety

“but life is not possible deep in space.” i never said it was going to ever enter deep space. deep space is outside of the Oort cloud of a solar system and it would always be in the habitable zone of a solar system.
“good luck evolving it before your star dies and all life on the planet goes extinct due to dependence on photosynthesis” red dwarves are a thing and ones created at the beginning of the universe will burn long past the day the last star is born

“but being in the goldilocks zone does not confer any benefit to regular organisms over being any closer.” it does if they are big enough and have a large volume of fluid for convection

the line that says “but wouldn’t it just steal resources” exists because of fralegend saying

in response to

To be honest, after reading this thread… I get nostalgic about underwater civilizations.

3 Likes

Yup, it went the same way. So is the private thread.

would you like to be in the version of this thread without burgeonblas or 50gens