View Full Version : Silicon Based Life Unlikely

2004-Apr-19, 01:23 PM
http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_ca...bon_040415.html (http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_carbon_040415.html)

Comments please. Looks like carbon criters have an overwhelming advantage.

2004-Apr-19, 03:21 PM
Of course they do. Larger atom. Weaker covalent bonding. More fragile moleculer structure results. There's a bit of high school chemistry for you :P

2004-May-02, 05:57 PM
It's always amusing how everything is based on how it is here. It doesn't happen here, so it can't happen elsewhere.
Here Silican bonds are weak, but if you make the right one (glass) its relatively strong and versatile. It would be interesting to see if glass spiders esixt out there somewhere.
Personally, I think when we finally have free range of space, we will be amazed at all the things we said couldn't happen that did, and continue to.
And I still want to join the colony for Alpha Centauri Prime!

2004-May-03, 07:05 PM
I wonder if there are any environments that carbon-based and silicon-based life would compete. Do the glassies like it much hotter?

2004-May-04, 01:15 PM
I wonder if there are any environments that carbon-based and silicon-based life would compete. Do the glassies like it much hotter?

Very likely the glassies like it hotter. In a sense we are creating an environment here where the carbon and silicon critters will compete...depending on how good we are at developing artificial intelligence. Controlling the OFF switch is critical.

The affinity of silicon to naturally form the complex molecules (evolve from scratch) needed to develop even microcopic life forms much less multicellular forms has not been observed. It's possible that highly evolved carbon critters may design carbon-silicon hybrids to explore and exploit environments that are beyond the edge of comfort for strictly carbon critters. There is a danger here that control of the OFF switch becomes more difficult than we would like...part of the risk assessment. In the late forties and early fifties there was a lot of interest in silicone molecular structure being able to mimic many complex carbon based molecules. Does anyone know what the state of that technology is now? I haven't seen much about it in the last 40 years.

Has anyone tried to develop protien level, or higher, complexity molecules with silicon in the lab?

The relative abundance of the elements favoring carbon based life seems to give it an overwhelming advantage. If the use of robots designed to function in ever increasingly hazardous environments can be thought of as extensions of carbon based life (us), and I do, I don't see much room for the silicon based critters. Still I'd enjoy meeting them in a peaceful set of conditions.

2004-May-04, 03:05 PM
Silicon life forms already exist though still in the early stages with a-sexual reproduction though still depending on enviromental influence for "spontanious" creation of one life form or mutation, and their succes is still quickly damaged by the harsh and post cambrian surroundings they live in. ;)

But they've managed to develope far quicker then the Carbon based life forms, even though they have quite a late start, due to strict enviromental requirements. ;)

2004-May-06, 06:59 PM
Hmmm, wonder what the other life forms are doing right now as we speak. :huh: