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In search of intelligent life January 14, 2014

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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Determining if life exists elsewhere, however, necessitates more than the discovery of other worlds. \”Signs of life,\” in what ever form they might assume, must also be found. Principally, the sign of life the astronomers seek is within a planet\’s atmosphere, the gaseous layer enveloping the planet. Astrobiologists assume, of course, that any life form would require a sustaining atmosphere. All animal life on Earth would perish in minutes if the atmosphere vanished. It seems logical that life on another world would be similarly reliant on that world\’s gaseous envelope. The tricky issue is in the composition. Based only on Earth, the only life-bearing planet with which we\’re familiar, a planet would need an abundance of water vapor and oxygen to support life. Then again, it is not inconceivable that extraterrestrial life might require an entirely different blend of gases. After all, though we\’re carbon based life forms, it is possible that some aliens might be based on silicon, an element with a bonding affinity comparable, but not equal, to carbon.

via In search of intelligent life.

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