Author Topic: Brahma  (Read 1838 times)

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Offline Clarke

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Brahma
« on: December 19, 2010, 09:34:21 am »
   A great ball of gas glows softly, a queen holding court as her subjects of ice and stone whirl around her, a kingdom spanning many millions of kilometers yet dead, no action besides the young planetesimals growing, fighting amongst their kin for stable orbits. And yet the apparent peace of this young solar system dissolves once one journeys to the center of the unborn star. That which but barely illuminates the surface is, at the core, a blinding light, a kiln produced by tons upon tons of matter heaped onto each other, each atom attempting to escape from the crowds of its kin, yet kept down by the massive gravity of the proto-star. And suddenly, it is no longer a proto-star. Somewhere, within the furnace that is the body's core, two atoms were forced together, the weight of a sun pushing them together so that they not only shared electrons, but the protons and neutrons that composed their nuclei. A new atom, a wave of energy, a chain reaction, and, in the blink of a geological eye, a new sun, a ball of plasma christened Vishnu. Light bursts forth, heat vaporising the ices that had covered the rocks of the inner solar system. Carbon monoxide, ammonia, methane, and, to a lesser extent, water are caught in the rays of the sun, pushed back toward the frost line, to be scavenged by young planets at the edge of the outer solar system. And yet, it might seem not as dramatic as expected to a human observer. The sun was not yellow or white, but a dull red. An educated observer would note that this is to be expected anyways, that red dwarves compose the majority of the stars. But since the time of that human observer, things have changed. The universe is older at the time of the young star's combustion, and by now yellow suns are rare, white or blue ones extremely so. The universe is leaving its bright and fiery youth, and soon the memory of a time where massive yellow giants were common will be but a fading memory. But more immediately, this passing of time has resulted in the balance of elements in this new system being shifted, becoming oxygen poor and carbon rich. Silicon dioxide is rare, silicon carbide common. Water is present, yet in quantities not suited for seas or for nurturing life as we know it. Methane and ammonia are more so, and carbon monoxide persists in large quantities. One might be quick to jump to the assertion that life could not thrive in such a system, but who are we to judge, with out limited understanding?

   At a time in which the Vishnu system is still young, yet is beginning to take a distinct shape. A lump of rock and volatiles already the size of Earth, the planet Brahma only feels a touch of Vishnu's warmth, lying well inside of the outer solar system. In fact, if it were to have stayed in its orbit, it would have, in all probability, have grown into an ice giant, a slightly warmer Uranus. If not for chaos. If not for Shiva.

   A planetoid, just over the size of Mars, Shiva had been drifting in an eccentric orbit, passing the orbit of Brahma only slightly, for many centuries. It was only a matter of time, though, before the two met. Shiva did not smash into Brahma, did not cause an impact which would have boiled away much of Brahma's precious atmosphere. Shiva, the agent of chaos, entangled itself with Brahma. As the twin planets rotated around the barycenter of the new system, only slightly out of Brahma's atmosphere, the pair's orbit slowly spiraled inward, a path spiraling slowly toward Vishnu.

   Centuries passed, and the twin planets entered a stable orbit once more. That is not to say that Brahma was not unaffected. Methane had turned liquid briefly, then evaporated to join the carbon monoxide already present, even as the solar winds of Vishnu skimmed the helium and hydrogen off of the atmosphere, throwing it into space. Ammonia melted, and formed vast seas, salty with ammonium hydrosulfide. The carbide and ice ground was eroded by the great tides raised by Shiva, and the sea began to teemed with complex biological molecules delivered by comets and condensing out of the Methane and now Ethane in the atmosphere, interacting with the ultraviolet produced by Vishnu to form elements which may well lead to life in this unlikely place.

   Years upon years pass, and the first stirrings of life have begun to spread throughout the ammonia seas of Brahma. Interactions between the ethane, methane, and carbon monoxide in the upper atmosphere have continued for many millions of years, and complex carbohydrates have accumulated in great numbers, either dissolved within the ammonia or existing as a layer of scum atop the sea, mixed by the great tides produced by the neighboring Shiva and the powerful winds of the new planet. The tectonically overactive nature of the young and massive planet has resulted in a profusion of hydrothermal vents and volcanoes, spewing molten carbides and graphite onto the surface of the planet, vaporized water sleeting down and freezing over the rock, eroded with the rains of ammonia that carve the first rivers, by the great waves which create the first beaches.

   Like on Earth, the specific origin of life on Brahma is contested. The early forms, however, are well known. Data-carrying reproductive structures very similar to RNA emerged, using six bases(The only one of which shared with terrestrial nucleotides being adenine), and forming a tightly-packed cylindrical coil with pyrimidines and purines jutting out like spokes, forming a spiral pattern quite different from that of the terrestrial helix. It is, however, in cellular structure where Brahman life diverges the most broadly from its terrestrial analogues.

   If you can call its structure cellular, that is. The ammonia of the Brahman oceans, while polar, does not produce as drastic an effect on lipids as water does. The carbohydrate froth at the top of the seas produced instead a varyiety of bilayer sheets, flat, circular structures composed of simply two sheets of lipids opposed to one another.

   The first life took these as their base units, not the cells that terrestrial life favored. The first sheets were primitive lithotrophs, subsisting off of reactions with the common elements around them. Enzymes embedded into the bottom of the sheet seperate hydrogen from the oceanic ammonia, combining it with atmospheric carbon monoxide to produce formaldehyde, the nitrogen joining the atmosphere and the formaldehyde accumulating in the seas in large quantities, and the excess energy put toward the creation of an energy-carrying molecule. The information carrying molecule rested in the center of the bilayer, forming an open spiral shape which granted access to the polymerase molecules which crawl along the nucleotide spokes. A secondary spiral grows slowly to the side, nucleotides copied from the original assembling next to the original, until comes the time for the second to split from it's predecessor, to give rise to more complex forms than the humble sheet floating on the surface of a nearly lifeless sea.



(Sorry for the crudeness of the drawings. Scanner made my terrible handwriting completely illegible, so I replaced it.)



Offline Yuu

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2010, 09:51:04 am »
Crude? That scan is great!

Offline Clarke

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2010, 09:54:57 am »
I meant that the scan had decreased the quality of the image. And thanks.

Offline Tesla

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2010, 02:17:41 pm »
Really interesting. Looking forward to more.
No way dude, you're trolling me.

Offline Doctor Z

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2010, 09:26:03 pm »
Indeed.

Offline Hydromancerx

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 12:02:33 am »
*exobiology sense tingling*

What is this?  ??? :o  8) Nice sketch!  ;D

Offline TimeMaster

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2011, 06:02:15 pm »
Awesome. Can't wait to see more.
:o Whoa... that was deep.

Offline Clarke

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 07:56:26 am »
Thanks!

Life on Brahma would not remain a simple bilayer for long. Competing specializations rose and fell, millions of years passing as strains of genes fought for dominance in the teeming ammonia seas. A general pattern emerged as dominant - specialized membranes arranged around each other and connected by fibers which bound them together and served to transport materials across the organism in micelles that would have broken apart or been otherwise swept astray in the currents of the ocean.

An adaption which proved extraordinarily useful to a branch of these lithotrophs was the ability to split ammonia into its components via the utilization of light energy. While a significant adaption for the current set of these lithotrophs, allowing them to produce more energy during metabolization, it proved to be a critical event in the history of the planet. The first event in a chain of minor adaptations, ones that would lead that group of organisms toward a new way to sustain themselves; photosynthesis.

What would become the primary flora of Brahma, the obligate phototrophs, rely on adaptations centering around that first splitting of Ammonia. Ammonia enters into a lipid bilayer, various molecules embedded into the upper layer of lipids working with light energy in the primarily yellow to red spectrum most available to split it into Nitrogen, H+, and H2. The nitrogen is released, as is the H+, replenishing an energy carrying molecule via a similar molecule to ATP synthase, the action of H+ leaving the bilayer creating energy. Meanwhile, the H2 is transported actively to an adjourning bilayer, where carbon monoxide, CO, from the atmosphere is brought in and split using enzymes and energy carrying molecules. The Oxygen reacts with the Hydrogen, producing water and energy. The water and carbon are stored separately, to be combined into Formaldehyde at a time during which light is unavailable.



Edit: In the picture, the two lines between organelles in the "cell" aren't more organelles, the're just two fibers.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 08:00:08 am by Clarke »

Offline Clarke

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Re: Brahma
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 01:17:04 pm »


The heterotrophs of Brahma are roughly comparable to those of Earth. Instead of pushing chemicals up an energy gradient themselves, they collect it from the phototrophs. Carbon and water are both stored by the phototrophs, and are stolen and stored by the heterotrophs. Some species are immobile, other use structures similar to terran flagella or cilia to move. Oblong composites of phospholipid bilayer "organelles" ingest and process prey.



Facultative phototrophs, while arising along the same line as the heterotrophs, have no terran analogue. As obligate phototrophs spread and thrived, formaldehyde became a larger and larger part of the Brahman oceans, even as carbon dioxide content was diminished. It was sheer luck that Brahma evolved photosynthesis twice, as each require the other's waste products to survive, stabilizing the primitive Brahman Gaiasphere. Evolving underneath organisms which utilized the Brahman's sun's yellow-red light, the facultative phototrophs use non-orange light, giving them an orange tinge. Formaldehyde, CH20, is split into carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The hydrogen is then combined with atmospheric nitrogen, replenishing the energy carrier and creating ammonia. This provides much of the organism's energy, but does not create any elements to store and combine at a later date without sun. To maintain homeostasis at night, it gathers small amounts of food passively. Some groups, however, have adapted to depend almost wholly on a heterotrophic lifestyle. Two spirals of photosynthetic structures are the main features of the organism; when the "cell" splits, one spiral will go with each newly created organism.