The Alien Factor discussion

Life Forms

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message 1: by Claire (new)

Claire Marie (clairdel) | 3 comments Mod
Hi Thomas,

I would wager that first contact will be with a carbon-based life form. In that, we have accord. However, humans as species are still neophytes when it comes to understanding what is out there, or here for that matter. I am sure, not too many years ago, my saying that life could exists in a sulfuric acid, in the toxic vapors of a black smoker, or in the oxygen starved depths of an ocean, would have been quite a hoot for most scientists. Nonetheless, we have discovered life in all of these extreme environments.

Quote from Hawking:

“What we normally think of as 'life' is based on chains of carbon atoms, with a few other atoms, such as nitrogen or phosphorous, Hawking observed in his lecture, Life in the Universe. We can imagine that one might have life with some other chemical basis, such as silicon, "but carbon seems the most favorable case, because it has the richest chemistry."

Discovering life on another world, regardless of its base properties, would be an epochal event for humankind. Discovering extraterrestrial sentient (sentiency being subjective) beings would likely cause a societal mutagenesis of global proportions. I can only hope that our familiarity with carbon and Earth-like conditions won’t bias our thinking in regards to other-world life forms. That we open our minds and accept that nature, in its infinite wisdom, loves variety.

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