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Chemistry of alternative life forms

  1. Sep 3, 2010 #1

    I'm just wondering how other life forms on different planets might be able to evolve. Some of my thoughts:

    1) other life forms don't necessarily need oxygen do they? On this planet we use oxygen to generate energy through combustion. Other life forms could generate energy by
    i) combustion in another gas e.g. fluorine?
    ii) something different to combustion altogether though I'm not sure what. I can't remember enough about things like electron transport chains to know if they need oxygen

    2) could simple life forms exist that weren't carbon carbon based? Silanes can form polymers up to 10 units long if i remember correctly. Could you have silicon based life?

    Any thoughts welcomed
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    This is all pure speculation, so you better look for some forum where speculation is allowed - it is not at PF.

    Oxygen is not needed for life. Before photosynthesizing microorganisms modified our atmosphere composition there was no oxygen in the air, yet earlier microorganisms thrived.
  4. Sep 5, 2010 #3
    ok sorry. did not know that
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