Dr. Claudius Gros is the mastermind behind the proposal of the Genesis Project, which plans to seed habitable planets in our galaxy with life. A theoretical physicist, Dr. Gros published a paper in 2016 describing possible missions equipped with gene factories, which would transport microbial life to planets with oxygen that were unlikely to give rise to life on their own. The intended outcome would be to stimulate the development of complex lifeforms in other places in the galaxy. These organisms began to develop 500 million years ago, on Earth, which was approximately 4 billion years after the planet’s birth. Introducing simple organisms to these planets will cause their development to move at a much quicker pace and, over time, they will become more complex.
It is believed that there are billions of habitable planets in our galaxy, which could become the target for Project Genesis. These planets are known as ‘oxygen’ planets, and revolve around M-dwarfs. Although oxygen is necessary for the sustenance of life, their oxygen rich atmospheres are the reason why complex organisms cannot develop. Astronomers are focused on finding planets that are around M-stars, which are relatively common but can be very dim, to introduce complex life. The planets have become oxygen rich because of the UV radiation emitted by the star during its cooling phase, which can take between 100 million to 1 billion years, which split the water on the planets into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Hydrogen will then escape the planet’s atmosphere, leaving the oxygen behind. Even though oxygen is necessary for the maintenance of life, this arise from chemical disassociation (not plant life), results in the planet becoming barren. It can, however, sustain life once it has been introduced.
The planets would be introduced to the organisms in two phases: the first would include unicellular autotrophs, mainly photosynthesizing bacteria; followed by heterotrophs, which feed on other organisms. The life initially seeded on these planets would take between 10 – 100 million years to fully unfold, and transport methods are currently being explored. One possible way of transporting the organisms would be to use laser technology to send probes through the universe, which would determine if the planet had life or not. Dr. Gros believes that this method will be possible within 50 – 100 years.
Even though many people have been supportive of the proposition, there are others that oppose The Genesis Project. Religious groups believe that sending organisms to other planets would be man ‘playing at being God.’ Others maintain that we should not interfere with the progression of these planets, as there is no real benefit to Earth from these experiments. Many scientists believe that more effort should be put into maintaining our planet, and developing space projects exclusively for the benefit of mankind, than concern with the progression of other planets.