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Life is difficult to define, but it can be defined by its characteristics.

  • Many regard Life as the greatest treasure of Charted Space. Explorers have found no other areas so rich in advanced life as Charted Space. Many areas barren of life, but not potentially life-supporting worlds, lay beyond what is known in Wildspace.

Library Data Referral Tree

Please see the following AAB Library Data articles for more information:

Description (Specifications)

Life is the tendency of matter to seek order and form self-reproducing complexity. A lifeform is any type of life, whether baryonic or otherwise. A creature is a type of lifeform considered to be comprehensibly graspable, usually of conventional "wet life" or unconventional "dry life" varieties. Exotic lifeforms tend to simply be called lifeforms despite the fact that the term creature might also apply.

Definition of Life

Almost all definitions of life are based upon the five fundamental hallmarks of life: "Life is any lifeform or organism, which displays the following biological processes: organization, irritability, metabolism, reproduction, and adaptation." There is clearly some grey area within this definition. Lifeforms not displaying all of the processes are classified as pseudo-life or a-life.

  1. Organization
  2. Irritability
  3. Metabolism
  4. Reproduction
  5. Adaptation

Hierarchy of Life

  • Biosphere > Biome > Ecosystem > Biocenosis > Population > Organism > Organ system > Organ > Tissue > Cell > Organelle > Biomolecular complex > Macromolecule > Biomolecule

Hallmarks of Life

All life, according to conventional definition, holds five properties or fundamental hallmarks and their metasystemic associations:

  • 1. Position (Motion)
  • 2. Motion (Irritability)
  • 3. Irritability (Reflex)
  • 4. Reflex (Association)
  • 5. Association (Thought)
  • 6. Thought (Culture)

One additional hallmark is held by the advanced life known as sophonts:

Evolutionary Quanta

Technological Overview:

Biological Overview:

History & Background (Dossier)

Life is a focal point of sophont societies and civilizations. Despite this importance, very little is really known about it: from whence it first arose, the breadth of lifeform types, the full cycle of civilization arcs & cycles, what the Singularity is... And so much more is so poorly understood.

Universe Cosmology

The universe as a whole is governed by two major forces: Entropy and Extropy.

Entropy vs. Extropy
Theory Remarks
Entropy In the most simplistic terms, entropy is the force of decay and disorganization. As things break down, wear out, and become used up, that's entropy in action. Entropy tends to reduce matter to its most simple and basic forms.
Extropy Extropy is the countervailing force of increasing complexity, growth, development, and life. Somehow despite what seems like overwhelming predominance of decay, "life finds a way." And also despite what might also seem like colossal odds, sophontic life repeatedly develops.

While noone knows exactly why these two forces are so prevalent, a number of theories have arisen about how life has originated, how civilizations develop, the very nature of life itself, and the endgame of the universe, widely considered to be the eventual heat death of the universe or the eventuality of the Singularity.

Theories of the Rise of Life

No known sophont species yet seems to possess definitive knowledge of how life first arose within Charted Space. And that idea is based upon the supposition that life did not exist when the universe came about. It's probably just as possible that life arose with the universe itself.

Life Origin Types

There are two primary types of life origin theories:

Life Origin Types
Name Remarks
Abiogenesis "Not-live matter begetting life"
Biogenesis "Life begetting life"

Lifeform Origin Theories

Many persuasive theories exist, some more and some less, as to how and where life came from:

Lifeform Origin Theories
Name Type Creator/s Remarks
Chronotaxistic Creators Biogenesis Chronotaxistic Traveller/s A theory that time travelers may have seeded life in the galaxy.
Galactic Gardeners Biogenesis Transgalactic Ascendant/s A theory that more advanced species may have seeded life throughout the galaxy.
G-dly Genesis Abiogenesis & Biogenesis Singularity A theory that an unknowable deity created everything including life throughout the galaxy.
Panspermia Biogenesis Random Chance An idea that organic, biological matter gets implanted within meteorites that then by chance travel the interstellar voids entering hospitable environments, where they may grow.
Precursor Programming Biogenesis Transgalactic Ascendant/s Uplift, geneering, etc. This is the idea that advanced species intentionally create new life and is already occurring with TL-15 science although nowhere near the level that the Ancients are conjectured to have achieved.
Pure Happenstance Abiogenesis Random Chance This is the theory that life simply arose by chance. A random mixing of chemicals, electromagnetic energy, and other factors that created life as we know it.
Simple Evolution Abiogenesis Random Chance This is another theory of chance that random elements slowly developed and evolved into life.
Transdimensional Tourists Biogenesis Transdimensional Traveller/s This is a theory that travelers from another dimension made their way to a different universe into a selected galaxy and seeded it with life.

References & Contributors (Sources)

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This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.