Monday, May 06, 2019
"10 Ways Alien Life Could Be Radically Different from Earth", by a known sci-fi author (Godier)
“10 Ways Alien Life Could Be Radically Different from Earth's”, by John Michael Godier, a science fiction author.
The first example he gives is life with chemical makeup similar to DNA and RNA but different in chirality. Our own chirality on Earth (as visible) may be the result of chance. Open up your college organic chemistry text to explain the concept.
The talks about how photosynthesis would work on M-star planets, and says it might be based on retinol and be purple in color.
He also notes that on planets with very long seasons or ice ages, organisms could not simply hibernate but actually die and reanimate, maybe with new consciousness. There is a jellyfish on Earth that can revert back to “childhood” (like Benjamin Button) and regenerate without reproduction.
He also talks about azotosome pseudo-cell membranes in worlds without oxygen.
He talks about “Snapchat”-like life on a neutron star (like the 80s novel “Mission of Gravity”).
He even says that plasma inside a star might be able to form reproductive structures, as plasma membranes have been observed.
He says that phosphorus is scarce in the universe (maybe explaining the Fermi paradox) and that arsenic is more common. Mono Lake in California may have arsenic-based bacteria.
He does explore the idea of silicon life (that was a high school science fair project for me in 1960).
Life could exist with RNA only.
He does focus particularly on Titan, which could have paper-like floating colony organisms analogous to our slime molds.