Is alien life a carbon and silicon bond based?
A recent study reveals that self-sustaining chemical reactions employing a variety of elements other than the carbon upon which Earth’s life is founded may exist on many different planets and support biology that is drastically different from life as we know it.
Organic substances are the foundation of life on Earth.
These molecules have carbon as its main component and frequently have hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur as well.
However, scientists have frequently considered the possibility that life on other planets could have evolved due to chemistry that was very different.
Research study senior author Betül Kaçar, a bacteriologist, astrobiologist, and evolutionary biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Space.com that it is important to investigate these possibilities in order to get a better understanding of what life beyond Earth might resemble.
Autocatalysis is a type of chemical reaction that is essential to life on Earth.
Autocatalytic reactions can generate molecules that promote the occurrence of the same process again, making them self-sustaining.
Researchers in the current study looked for autocatalysis outside of organic molecules. They reasoned that autocatalysis might promote abiogenesis, the process of life’s emergence from death.
The researchers concentrated on processes known as proportionation cycles, which are capable of producing numerous copies of a molecule.
These products can be utilized as starting materials to encourage the repetition of these cycles, leading to autocatalysis.
A total of 270 distinct cycles of autocatalytic reactions were found by the researchers. According to Kaçar, autocatalysis could not be all that uncommon but rather a common trait of many diverse habitats, including those that are very dissimilar to Earth.