Life in Dark Solar Systems

Clark M. Thomas cmthomas at
Fri Nov 14 22:15:36 EST 1997

Life in Dark Solar Systems

Author:  Clark M. Thomas (cmthomas at
Date:  November 14, 1997

Life as we know it exists only on planets, and possibly moons, surrounding
stars.  At the same time much of the known universe is thought to be truly
dark matter.  Truly dark matter would be matter that cannot be detected
directly or indirectly from our place in space.  Black holes, for example,
do not qualify as truly dark matter because they can be indirectly located.

The giant planet Jupiter is an example of an almost-star.  If its mass were
only a few times larger Jupiter would start to glow.  Coincidentally, both
Jupiter and Saturn have a similar number of  ³planets² as our sun has true
planets.  If it weren¹t for the sun itself, then either Jupiter or Saturn
could in isolation qualify as dark solar systems.  (I am herein using the
word ³solar² loosely, because each ³sol² would not be a glowing sun.)

Jupiter and Saturn are derived from the same swirling cloud that became our
sun and its system of planets and other objects.  There may be billions and
billions of other undetectable swirling clouds that did not have enough
mass to produce a glowing sun, but did have enough mass to produce a dark
solar system.

The Earth is an example of a planet with a hot core.  This heat is caused
by gravity, not by sunlight reaching its core.  At the surface are oceans
with water possibly the result of bombardment by millions of comet snow
balls.  Because these ancient comets may be distributed throughout many
areas of the universe, it is reasonable to speculate that similar phenomena
would occur in dark solar systems.

At the bottom of our oceans are chemosynthetic bacteria.  They do not rely
on photosynthesis to live.  This fact has been known since 1977 when
researchers off the Galapagos found water around a thermal vent teeming
with bacteria, and surrounded by 30-inch-long worms, large clams, mussels,
and strange fish with blue eyes.

Recent explorations below the surface of the land suggest that
chemosynthetic microbial populations exist in phenomenal numbers within
rock pores.  Such subterranean life may exist in nutrient soups up to
several miles below the surface.  If such is true, then the Earth's
photosynthetic biosphere may have far less biomass than the Earth's
chemosynthetic biosphere.

Because (1) dark solar systems can form from dark clouds, and (2)  because
sufficiently large bodies generate their own internal heat,  and (3)
because oceans can form from deep space comets, and (4) because bacteria
are at the bottom of the food chain, and (5) because not all bacteria need
sunlight -- it is reasonable to hypothesize that there may be millions or
billions of dark planets in the cosmic darkness incubating some forms of


For a different view of Relativity, see my

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