Teach me: Forms of Life
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11-12-2013, 01:03 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
Carbon and sili are super special and junk coz of those 4 electrons in their outer shell. No other elements are special. The other elements have cooties.

Seriously tho: I'm about 1000% sure life couldn't exist without water, but I never gave the carbon thing much thought.

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11-12-2013, 01:12 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
Everybody seems to have beat me to it. I'd always heard your likely to get life forms out of the most abundant/versatile elements. Carbon is #1 in that respect.

I've always wondered the same as you though!
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11-12-2013, 01:37 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
(11-12-2013 12:56 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  So, a sodium-based life form is possible... given the right conditions?

I mean... could any element support life if it was given the right conditions?

No prolly not. See Cephalotus' answer. It has to do with the availability of energy levels in the outer electron shell, and also to some degree in the complex charged "regions" that are formed by the shape of the macro-molecules, (polarity).
http://www.uic.edu/classes/phys/phys461/...0/ANJUM04/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_bond
Make sense ?
Without "polarity" DNA would not form the way it does.

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11-12-2013, 01:43 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
I lied earlier. I've always wondered about boron based life. I wonder if it could create the same types of compounds and whatnot.

Sodium would be a weird one, eh?

EDIT: I meant SHAPES, not types. I haven't been sleeping much due to finals week. Nobody mind me.

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11-12-2013, 01:44 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
(11-12-2013 12:56 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  So, a sodium-based life form is possible... given the right conditions?

I mean... could any element support life if it was given the right conditions?

Possible, just less probable. At least, not as common. But who knows? Shy
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11-12-2013, 01:50 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
(11-12-2013 12:04 PM)KidCharlemagne1962 Wrote:  
(11-12-2013 11:38 AM)nach_in Wrote:  Carbon is a chemical slut, so it makes a lot of different molecules that are useful for life, other elements couldn't do that as far as we know.

It is the trollop of the periodic table. Drinking Beverage

Tee shirt idea:
*Graphic of Earth*
Text surrounding the edge: Thank you slutty carbon.

(11-12-2013 01:03 PM)Cephalotus Wrote:  Carbon and sili are super special and junk coz of those 4 electrons in their outer shell. No other elements are special. The other elements have cooties.

Seriously tho: I'm about 1000% sure life couldn't exist without water, but I never gave the carbon thing much thought.

Right on. Thumbsup Hydrogen is certainly in the mix. That's why we look for it on other planets. That's also partly why there are leading hypothesis that say comets may be responsible for seeding planets.

Carbon and hydrogen - the sexy combo. Wink

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11-12-2013, 02:08 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
Something is screwed up with this thread. It doesn't unbold when read , and it stays on the top of the list. And the time of the last post is in the future?

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11-12-2013, 02:19 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
(11-12-2013 12:56 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  So, a sodium-based life form is possible... given the right conditions?

I mean... could any element support life if it was given the right conditions?

I'll refine your question a tiny bit. I think you mean that any element could be the basis for life, not just support it. If you mean otherwise, my bad. In that case a lot of the elements currently support life.

My understanding is that there are a couple of factors that make carbon a natural candidate to be a building block of life: There is a lot of it as well as its ability to interact with other atoms to create more complex molecules because of its electrons. I forget a lot of the organic chemistry I used to know but there is a reason that silicon is directly below carbon on the Periodic Table and it shares the same electron profile that carbon does IIRC. As a result it is actually good science to have silicon based life forms in science fiction.

To answer your question, to my understanding sodium based life forms are possible just much less likely than other elements.
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11-12-2013, 02:47 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
It is an interesting topic for discussion, and the reality is, we don't know. NASA found that they could substitute phosphourous for arsenic in a particular single celled organism. The organism was able to use arsenic much the same as it did phosphorous.

A very great quote from the article-- “It isn’t about arsenic, and it isn’t about Mono Lake,” says Wolfe-Simon. “There’s something fundamental about understanding the flexibility of life. Any life, a microbe, a tree, you grind it up and it’s going to be CHNOPS. But we have a single sample of life. You can’t look for what you don’t know.”

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/1...life-form/
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11-12-2013, 03:06 PM
RE: Teach me: Forms of Life
It's been more or less answered, but analysis shows that no other element can do what carbon does. There are more kinds of organic (carbon-based) molecules than all kinds of non-organic molecules.

Carbon forms compounds more readily and at better energies than silicon, so while silicon-based life may be possible, it won't be as rich as carbon-based.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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