Information Transmission Via Molecular Communication In Astrobiological Environments

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
September 8, 2023
Filed under
Information Transmission Via Molecular Communication In Astrobiological Environments
The information transmission rate, also termed the data rate (in bits/s), via cell-to-cell molecular communication between versus the transmitterreceiver distance (in µm). The four classes in this figure are elucidated in Section 3.2, whereas the corresponding model parameters are presented in Section 3.3. —

The ubiquity of information transmission via molecular communication between cells is comprehensively documented on Earth; this phenomenon might even have played a vital role in the origin(s) and early evolution of life.

Motivated by these considerations, a simple model for molecular communication entailing the diffusion of signaling molecules from transmitter to receiver is elucidated. The channel capacity C (maximal rate of information transmission) and an optimistic heuristic estimate of the actual information transmission rate I are derived for this communication system; the two quantities, especially the latter, are demonstrated to be broadly consistent with laboratory experiments and more sophisticated theoretical models.

The channel capacity exhibits a potentially weak dependence on environmental parameters, whereas the actual information transmission rate may scale with the intercellular distance d as I ∝ d −4 and could vary substantially across settings. These two variables are roughly calculated for diverse astrobiological environments, ranging from Earth’s upper oceans (C ∼ 3.1×103 bits/s; I ∼ 4.7 × 10−2 bits/s) and deep sea hydrothermal vents (C ∼ 4.2 × 103 bits/s; I ∼ 1.2 × 10−1 bits/s) to the hydrocarbon lakes and seas of Titan (C ∼ 3.8×103 bits/s; I ∼ 2.6×10−1 bits/s).

Manasvi Lingam

Comments: Accepted for publication in Astrobiology; 57 pages; 1 figure; 1 table
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Biological Physics (; Fluid Dynamics (physics.flu-dyn); Molecular Networks (q-bio.MN); Populations and Evolution (q-bio.PE)
Cite as: arXiv:2309.01924 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2309.01924v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Manasvi Lingam
[v1] Tue, 5 Sep 2023 03:23:23 UTC (119 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻