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I want to implement a massive organic being into a comic im making. The story goes like this, there is a dying "birthing mother", a being that can edit DNA and births the common soldier within this species (Kinda like an op brood mother). It doesnt want to die, so it shambles together an exoskeleton out of excess organic matter. This shell is kinda crablike, but thats unimportant. It continues to grow in excess, and eventually the empress forces it to leave the world and it continues to grow on the moon, eventually it consumes the moon and turns the moon into reinforcement for its giant exoskeleton.

Now with the exposition out of the way, is there an easily concievavble way for it to live for extended periods of time on the moon?

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marked as duplicate by L.Dutch, sphennings, Ash, Frostfyre, Azuaron Sep 12 '17 at 12:52

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  • $\begingroup$ A tough call. Biological creature, even if it can survive in vacuum, needs energy to live. Space rocks have no suitable chemicals, and photosynthesis won't work in space. Your creature has to be some kind of space cyborg to be able to proliferate. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Sep 11 '17 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ Since you tagged this as evolution, I find it very hard to imagine how a creature that you described would have evolved organically. How did it get so big and how did it magically get to the moon? $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Sep 11 '17 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ It ate the moon, and it is on the moon? whoaaaaa $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 11 '17 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ it only ate half of the moon, it uses the other half like a shell $\endgroup$ – Xivote Sep 11 '17 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ This is such an unscientific idea that you should forget any idea of justifying this with rational science-like arguments. It could not exist as you have described it. It's own gravitational field would create enormous pressures in it's core and it would simply crush the life out of itself. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Sep 12 '17 at 2:01
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Its survival depends mostly on what is available to it. While photosynthesis is an option for a source of biological energy if you have the required structures, CO2, and water, sustaining that system is going to take materials you may not have access to, such as certain minerals and compounds. However, given adequate knowledge and biomass, it wouldn't be beyond reasoning to reverse-engineer the systems that create all but the mineral components here on earth. Basically, re-create a biosphere to manufacture what you need. Either with separate minion-creatures contained within the shell, or as organ-like additions to the main creature. The thing is, this isn't as difficult as it initially seems. You don't need these organisms to survive competing in the wild, you can over-specialize and make them monstrously efficient, so long as you're willing to spoon-feed and protect them. So-fungi/lichen/micro-organisms to break down rocks/dirt/excess biomass, flora to feed off of waste material from that and produce biologically usable energy & compounds, and fauna to recycle O2 back to CO2, anything more complicated than that can likely be hand-waved away for your general audience by sci-fi space-crab genetics.

Now that we've established that with preparation, sustaining your brood is possible, we need to focus on long-term growth/development. If the moon in question was formed similarly to earth's moon (in that it's mostly material cast off by the planet during its formation process and later huge meteorite impacts) than you likely won't have much problem finding and re-purposing material to feed your growing brood, so long as the process is efficient enough that it's a net-gain, not a net-loss. Again, hand wave sci-fi space crab genetics, we're looking for stuff usable in-story, not to publish a scientific article. On the other hand, if the moon was formed by snagging passing meteors (such as Mar's Phobos and Deimos) the brood is going to have a much harder time finding the components they're used to breaking down for sustenance. But there's also the chance for serendipity to smile on them as well, and find a best-case scenario even better than what they're used to. That's assuming a barren moon, unlike Jupiter's Titian or Star War's Endor.

TL;DR: we're already doing this on earth, rocks are broken down, minerals are consumed, the dead are recycled. You just need enough air, biomass, and overly-specialized organs/organisms in a concentrated space to self-perpetuate. Maybe checkout this fanfiction for some more ideas (be forewarned, the first chapter is a bit info-dumpy and tailored to those already somewhat familiar with Prototype's genetically self-modifying Blacklight)

Edit: I've been seeing a bunch of references to the square-cube law and the like, but picture a mostly-hollow creature mixed with a hive?

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  • $\begingroup$ While this answer relies on the 'creature' actually being a hive supporting the brood mother, it's pretty good. At least until the brood consumes the entirety of the moon and needs to find more raw material... cue dramatic music +1 $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Sep 12 '17 at 10:47
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First and foremost, this creature must avoid gravity wells or it will not survive.

The moon affects the earth and vice-versa. This creature grew large enough to consume the moon. It is officially large enough to affect the orbits of planets, which means it's large enough for distant planets to affect it. Approaching a star would tear it apart. Heck, approaching planets might tear it and the planet apart. So, rule #1, it's now a deep-space-only critter.

Second, you're a radiation converter

In deep space you're living on cosmic radiation and dust. That's pretty thin. You could work around black holes or areas with strong gravitational shear if you had some way of converting gravitic or kinetic force into energy.

Since you're big enough to disrupt orbits, if you found a star with no planets (or ate the planets) you could park in orbit around the start and convert the solar wind. Or you could park around a pulsar or quasar to the same effect.

Or you could inhabit nebula and absorb the matter and energy, in which case you're a fission engine, a carbon fission engine (consider this but realise that it only works with super-massive objects.... objects that burn....)

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I dont see how a creature this rediculous wouldnt survive.

I mean at this point it's more like what flaws do you want it to have so it could die.

I would elaborate, but if it's capable of eating a moon and not being crushed by its own mass and surviving a solar vaccum in the first place. Then it can practically go anywhere from here.

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  • $\begingroup$ haha, yeah, the whole premise of the creature is kind of meant to be ridiculous, as the common soldiers literally revere it as a god-like organism (not god in the sense that it's omnipotent, but they revere it as "an almighty weapon" that is unkillable and infinitely deadly (which, it's not)). In the end of the comic the creature is going to die and bring with it an era of chaos as homeworld collapses and all of the intergalactic colonies fight for dominance and power. $\endgroup$ – Xivote Sep 11 '17 at 22:23
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The creature is a blob in an enormous shell, so that is all good. It could move using hydraulics.

There are no nutrients for a giant organism in space. It must make its own out of whatever is handy. Energy is available as radiation and that is about it.

I conclude that this organism can work fusion and matter creation.

It can use any matter it encounters and convert it into energy, and then turn that energy back into the type of matter that it needs. Such an organism could continue to grow if its growth were comprised of light elements that it created using energy from breakdown of heavier elements.

I like the premise of the dying birthing mother organism that doesn't want to die. Like a stem cell that has turned into a cancer. The powers of generation it once used to maintain the organism, or the hive, are instead turned to selfish use to grow without end or purpose.

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Helium-3

The creature would need to generate a group of organs that could process helium-3 into the energy he needs to survive and move around. Since it's already feeding from the lunar rocks the isotope would be harvested from these process.

Radiation

Stellar radiation from the nerby star would bash the creature relentlessly, it could consume this radiation adapting the upper part of his body to collect it and feed from it. Even make a sail like wing and travel around with the help of this radiation.

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Unless you are referring to Lovcraftian abominations, there is no way something that big can survive.

First lets deal with the physical support problem, according to the square-cube law, if a 1x1x1 cube increases size to 2x2x2, the surface area quadrupled, but the volume gets multiplied by eight. Therefore the cube would need eight times the support to keep it's proper shape. If this create were to grow to a planetary scale, not only would it need an exoskeleton that is virtually impervious to stress and fractures, It would also need an internal skeleton with bones that make diamond appear as soft as talc in order to keep the creature from imploding on itself.

There is also the nervous system problem. Within the human body, nerve pulses travel anywhere from 76 m/s to 119 m/s depending on whether it is either from commanding a muscle to move or receiving pain. If there is only one brain for the creature, it could be hours to days before it realizes that there is something attacking it from the opposite side of where the brain is located. With a creature on a planetary scale, the only way its nervous system could have a remote chance of coming to be is if there is a complex system of brains and ganglia to form a sort of network across the entire body, even then that would not make for instantaneous nerve reactions.

Then there is the source of nutrients that would also play a big factor. In nature, there is simply no ecosystem that can support a creature on this scale. Sure, there is the moon that could supply it with minerals and such, but what about proteins for the network of brains, carbs for energy and fats for storing energy. Any planet that has life on it virtually as the life as a tiny amount of scum layering it's surface. One meal for the living moon would have hundreds or even thousands of planets stripped clean of anything alive on them. It can't exactly move interstellar distances to get sustenance on other worlds either.

It wouldn't really be able to "land" on other planets either as the Roche limit essentially guarantees that the gravitational forces of both the creature and planet will tear each other apart.

This being's survival, or even conception, is simply not possible.

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    $\begingroup$ This creature managed to grow long enough to eat the moon, obviously logical necessities like carbs and water are trivial concepts. The OP basically said it overcame all the obvious things that should have killed it before being able to eat the moon. $\endgroup$ – anon Sep 11 '17 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ A complex of brains seems pretty reasonable and not a disqualification on the scale of, well, all the ohter ones. $\endgroup$ – Azor Ahai Sep 11 '17 at 23:28
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Something useful to think about when talking about creatures that live in space for extended periods of time are deep space satellites. Deep space satellites such as Voyager 1 and 2 are specifically designed to drift through space for extended periods of time as efficiently as possible. They use very minimal energy for powering their computers and get that from whats called a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) which basically works by taking the heat from decaying radioactive elements and turning it into energy. Additionally, they carry only minimal fuel which is mainly used for minute adjustments to keep them on course.

I would say it is infeasible for any sentient being to travel deep into space for extended periods of time because of the significant amount of energy that would be necessary to keep them alive and the energy required to keep them thinking. Propulsion is also an issue because if you don't have something to shoot off and lose, then you can't go anywhere.

There are some ways that large deep-space creatures could work though. First off, any completely non-sentient creatures are basically impossible because there would be no way for them to collect energy and fuel to power their interstellar trips. However, it is possible that the interstellar journey of these creatures could happen while they are "eggs". The original creature (still on a planet, or with some way to get resources) could eject them into space, and the egg would slowly lose mass and energy until it arrives at its destination much smaller than usual. You could conceivably have simple organic navigation systems on here too, which could counteract any effects due to gravitational fields from nearby objects.

The other option that I can see is that these creatures aren't large themselves and build a sort of ship around them (similar to a caterpillar building a cocoon.) This would again be used similarly to the previous example for jettisoning mass and using up the energy during the voyage. This would be that the creature would be able to make several of these trips, although again, it probably wouldn't be very conscious during the trip.

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