Do We Have a Moral Obligation to Seed the Universe with Life?

[caption id="attachment_29411" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Photo: NASA"][/caption]

Michael Mautner of Virginia Commonwealth University says that part of the human condition we enjoy is a responsibility to ensure life continues after our home, Earth, dies.  It will happen, someday.  And panspermia missions now will fulfill our moral obligation to see that life on other planets gets a fair chance, even if we won't ever see the results.
As Mautner explains in his study published in an upcoming issue of theJournal of Cosmology, the strategy is to deposit an array of primitive organisms on potentially fertile planets and protoplanets throughout the universe... (he) has identified potential breeding grounds, which include extrasolar planets, accretion disks surrounding young stars that hold the gas and dust of future planets, and - at an even earlier stage - interstellar clouds that hold the materials to create stars.

To transport the microorganisms, Mautner proposes using sail-ships. These ships offer a low-cost transportation method with solar sails, which can achieve high velocities using the radiation pressure from light. The microorganisms could be bundled in tiny capsules, each containing about 100,000 microorganisms and weighing 0.1 micrograms.

The article addresses criticisms such as the possibility of interfering with any pre-existing extraterrestrial life.
First of all, Mautner explains that we can minimize these chances by targeting very primitive locations where life could not have evolved yet. In addition, he argues that, since extraterrestrial life is not currently known to exist, our first concern should be with preserving our family of organic gene/protein life that we know exists.

So what's the consensus?  Are we morally obligated to "keep the ball rolling" as far as life in the Universe goes?

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something more to consider is that while everyone is responding on the idea that we as humans are the plan for this new planet, consider we are not. Everyone reading this blog should go to the popular science website and look under technology and then robots. The gov. is spending billions on creating robots that can think and feel and make choices, they are the potential beings for any new planet found, and they are what is being sent out to space to see if it can survive. So dont worry fellow humans neither you or your children have a role in the coming future. Think about all the technology wonders we know about- you think the government isn't decades further in their advancements? Right. They can and are doing things that everyone should be thinking about. If we are going to preserve life then its time society came together without the government and found a way to coexist. The government is taking us where they want us group by group and nobody says a thing til their group is confronted. Future planets- lets worry about our planet and our people. No jobs, teachers laid off- no relief money for Katrina- but billions to build robots for some hopeful future life. What a joke.
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I think that life has seeded itself in the places where it is currently needed. before we go talking about seeding the universe with life (which seems like the very definition of hubris) let's learn how the hell to take care of what we've got here
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Shannon hit it on the head - do we want to convert "empty matter" into "conscious matter". This has nothing to do with morality, and nothing to do with spreading "humans".

It's a question of wether or not we want to seed LIFE in it's most basic forms, allowing it to progress and evolve into something more complex. It's about wether we want to generate AWARENESS. And I think we should. I do think we need to be careful not to interfere with planets that may already have simple life, but should we seed "dead" empty worlds? Hell yeah! The Universe could use more opportunities to become self-aware, although it does already have mechanisms in place to do this... but we can still help :) Of course, we should focus on our own problems here on Earth first... especially since we're driving ourselves to extinction...
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Why not? It's not about rights, it's about philosophy and unanswered questions regarding life elsewhere. We recently learned that our own potential to be "heard" by other life forms out there is dampened by our TV signal switchover.

As far as we scientifically know, we're it. "We" meaning everything on this planet that isn't mineral. To seed some primal world with the right conditions to make panspermia work is not arrogant, it's noble.

Think of the possibilities, maybe things would evolve into a Utopia. No religion, no countries, no possessions. Etc.
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I think the whole thing reeks of arrogance. In the cosmic sense of things, what makes Earth life so darned special anyway? What gives mere humans the right to go dinking around with other planets and such?
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