We must be able to fully define the point at which we consider something as alive as opposed to inanimate before we can give a sufficient investigation into the process.Anybody here have an idea of how we can do this?
I would suggest that those things that we call "alive" have these properties:
1) The ability to utilize energy and matter in the environment to construct/maintain itself and its functions (if any)
2) The ability to, through some process, make more of itself
3) Possession of a mechanism for heritable change
I submit that this describes everything that we refer to as alive. (I don't consider viruses or prions alive as they meet only one of these criteria. Perhaps biologists disagree.)
When it's a spore? I guess not. Not to me, anyway. It will be when it un-spores, though.
Suspended animation is clearly a great strategy for surviving drought, etc. But it's hardly something we'd expect to find a whole planet's ecology based on. I hardly think we're over-narrowing our search if we restrict it to life that's actually doing something.