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Encyclopedia > Alternative biochemistry

Alternative biochemistry is the speculative biochemistry of alien life forms that differ radically from those on Earth. It includes biochemistries that use atoms other than carbon to construct primary cellular structures and/or use solvents besides water. Theories about extraterrestrial life based on alternative biochemistries are common in science fiction. Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes and transformations in living organisms. ... For other uses, see Life (disambiguation). ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ... “Green people” redirects here. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ...

Contents

Atoms other than carbon

Scientists have speculated about the pros and cons of using atoms other than carbon to form the molecular structures necessary for life, but no one has proposed a theory employing such atoms to form all the molecular machinery necessary for life. Since humans are carbon-based beings and have never encountered any life that has evolved outside the earth’s environment, excluding the possibility of all other elements may be considered carbon chauvinism. Properties In chemistry and physics, an atom (Greek ἄτομος or átomos meaning indivisible) is the smallest particle still characterizing a chemical element. ... General Name, symbol, number carbon, C, 6 Chemical series nonmetals Group, period, block 14, 2, p Appearance black (graphite) colorless (diamond) Standard atomic weight 12. ... This article is about modern humans. ... Carbon chauvinism is the viewpoint in xenobiology that carbon is necessarily the basis of all life on other planets, as carbons chemical and thermodynamic properties render it far superior to all other elements. ...


Silicon biochemistry

A hypothetical silicon-based lifeform

The most commonly proposed basis for an alternative biochemical system is the silicon atom, since silicon has many chemical properties similar to carbon and is in the same periodic table group, the carbon group. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... General Name, Symbol, Number silicon, Si, 14 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 14, 3, p Appearance as coarse powder, dark grey with bluish tinge Standard atomic weight 28. ... General Name, Symbol, Number silicon, Si, 14 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 14, 3, p Appearance as coarse powder, dark grey with bluish tinge Standard atomic weight 28. ... The phrase chemical property is context-dependent, but generally refers to a materials behavior at ambient conditions (i. ... A periodic table group is a vertical column in the periodic table of the chemical elements. ... The carbon group is group 14 (IUPAC style) in the periodic table. ...


But silicon has a number of handicaps as a carbon alternative. Because silicon atoms are much bigger, having a larger mass and atomic radius, they have difficulty forming double or triple covalent bonds, which are important for a biochemical system. Silanes, which are chemical compounds of hydrogen and silicon that are analogous to the alkane hydrocarbons, are highly reactive with water, and long-chain silanes spontaneously decompose. Molecules incorporating polymers of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms instead of direct bonds between silicon, known collectively as silicones, are much more stable. It has been suggested that silicone-based chemicals would be more stable than equivalent hydrocarbons in a sulphuric-acid-rich environment, as is found in some extraterrestrial locations.[1] In general, however, complex long-chain silicone molecules are still more unstable than their carbon counterparts. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Atomic radius: Ionic radius Covalent radius Metallic radius van der Waals radius edit Atomic radius, and more generally the size of an atom, is not a precisely defined physical quantity, nor is it constant in all circumstances. ... Covalent bonding is a form of chemical bonding that is characterized by the sharing of pairs of electrons between atoms, or sometimes between atoms and other covalent bonds. ... Silane is a chemical compound with chemical formula SiH4. ... A chemical compound is a chemical substance of two or more different chemically bonded chemical elements, with a fixed ratio determining the composition. ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... Chemical structure of methane, the simplest alkane Alkanes are chemical compounds that consist only of the elements carbon (C) and hydrogen (H) (i. ... Oil refineries are key to obtaining hydrocarbons; crude oil is processed through several stages to form desirable hydrocarbons, used in fuel and other commercial products. ... This article describes water from a scientific and technical perspective. ... A polymer (from Greek: πολυ, polu, many; and μέρος, meros, part) is a substance composed of molecules with large molecular mass composed of repeating structural units, or monomers, connected by covalent chemical bonds. ... General Name, Symbol, Number oxygen, O, 8 Chemical series nonmetals, chalcogens Group, Period, Block 16, 2, p Appearance colorless (gas) very pale blue (liquid) Standard atomic weight 15. ... Silicones (more accurately called polymerized siloxanes or polysiloxanes) are inorganic-organic polymers with the chemical formula [R2SiO]n, where R = organic groups such as methyl, ethyl, and phenyl. ...


Another obstacle is that silicon dioxide (a common ingredient of many sands), the analog of carbon dioxide, is a non-soluble solid at the temperature range where water is liquid, making it difficult for silicon to be introduced into water-based biochemical systems even if the necessary range of biochemical molecules could be constructed out of it. R-phrases R42 R43 R49 S-phrases S22 S36 S37 S45 S53 Flash point non-flammable Supplementary data page Structure and properties n, εr, etc. ... In order to meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article requires cleanup. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Solution. ...


Finally, of the varieties of molecules identified in the interstellar medium as of 1998, 84 are based on carbon and 8 are based on silicon.[2] Moreover, of those 8 compounds, four also include carbon within them. The cosmic abundance of carbon to silicon is roughly 10 to 1. This may suggest a greater variety of complex carbon compounds throughout the cosmos, providing less of a foundation upon which to build silicon-based biologies, at least under the conditions prevalent on the surface of planets. The interstellar medium (or ISM) is the name astronomers give to the tenuous gas and dust that pervade interstellar space. ... 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ...


The Earth, as well as other terrestrial planets, is exceptionally silicon-rich and carbon-poor. However, terrestrial life is carbon-based. The fact that carbon, though rare, has proven to be much more successful as a life base than the much more abundant silicon may be evidence that silicon is poorly suited for biochemistry on Earth-like planets. This article is about Earth as a planet. ... The inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, their sizes to scale. ...


Even so, silica is used by some existing Earth life, such as the silicate skeletal structure of diatoms. See biogenic silica. Orders Centrales Pennales Diatoms (Greek: (dia) = through + (temnein) = to cut, i. ... Diatoms are capable of synthesizing silica glass in vivo. ...


It is also possible that silicon compounds may be biologically useful under temperatures or pressures very different from the surface of a terrestrial planet, either in conjunction with or in a role less directly analogous to carbon.


A. G. Cairns-Smith has proposed that the first living organisms to exist were clay minerals - which were probably based on silicon.[3] Dr. A. Graham Cairns-Smith (19?? to 20??) is an organic chemist and molecular biologist at Glasgow University, most famous for his controversial 1985 book, Seven Clues to the Origins of Life. ...


Nitrogen and phosphorus biochemistry

Nitrogen and phosphorus also offer possibilities as the basis for biochemical molecules. Like carbon, phosphorus can form long chain molecules on its own, which would potentially allow it to form complex macromolecules if it were not so reactive. However, in combination with nitrogen, it can form much more stable covalent bonds and create a wide range of molecules, including rings. General Name, Symbol, Number nitrogen, N, 7 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 15, 2, p Appearance colorless gas Standard atomic weight 14. ... General Name, Symbol, Number phosphorus, P, 15 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 15, 3, p Appearance waxy white/ red/ black/ colorless Standard atomic weight 30. ... A macromolecule is a large molecule with a large molecular mass bonded covalently, but generally the use of the term is restricted to polymers and molecules which structurally include polymers. ...


Earth's atmosphere is approximately 78% nitrogen, but this would probably not be of much use to a phosphorus-nitrogen (P-N) lifeform since molecular nitrogen (N2) is nearly inert and energetically expensive to "fix" due to its triple bond. (On the other hand, certain Earth plants such as legumes can fix nitrogen using symbiotic anaerobic bacteria contained in their root nodules.) A nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or ammonia (NH3) atmosphere would be more useful. Nitrogen also forms a number of oxides, such as nitrogen monoxide, dinitrogen oxide, and dinitrogen tetraoxide, and all would be present in a nitrogen-dioxide-rich atmosphere. Nitrogen fixation is the process by which nitrogen is taken from its relatively inert molecular form (N2) in the atmosphere and converted into nitrogen compounds (such as, notably, ammonia, nitrate and nitrogen dioxide)[1] useful for other chemical processes. ... Divisions Green algae Chlorophyta Charophyta Land plants (embryophytes) Non-vascular plants (bryophytes) Marchantiophyta—liverworts Anthocerotophyta—hornworts Bryophyta—mosses Vascular plants (tracheophytes) †Rhyniophyta—rhyniophytes †Zosterophyllophyta—zosterophylls Lycopodiophyta—clubmosses †Trimerophytophyta—trimerophytes Pteridophyta—ferns and horsetails Seed plants (spermatophytes) †Pteridospermatophyta—seed ferns Pinophyta—conifers Cycadophyta—cycads Ginkgophyta—ginkgo Gnetophyta—gnetae Magnoliophyta—flowering plants... Varieties of soybean seeds, a popular legume Pea pods A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or a fruit of these plants. ... Meat Ants harvest Leaf Hoppers for their honey dew. ... An anaerobic organism or anaerobe is any organism that does not require oxygen. ... Phyla/Divisions Actinobacteria Aquificae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chlamydiae/Verrucomicrobia Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Deinococcus-Thermus Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria Firmicutes Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Nitrospirae Omnibacteria Planctomycetes Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermomicrobia Thermotogae Bacteria (singular, bacterium) are a major group of living organisms. ... [1] R-phrases , S-phrases , , , , , Supplementary data page Structure and properties n, εr, etc. ... Ammonia is a compound with the formula NH3. ... The chemical compound nitric oxide is a gas with chemical formula NO. It is an important signaling molecule in the body of mammals including humans, one of the few gaseous signaling molecules known. ... Nitrous oxide, also known as dinitrogen oxide or dinitrogen monoxide, is a chemical compound with chemical formula N2O. Under room conditions it is a colourless non-flammable gas, with a pleasant slightly sweet odor. ...


In a nitrogen dioxide atmosphere, P-N plant analogues could absorb nitrogen dioxide from the air and phosphorus from the ground. The nitrogen dioxide would be reduced, with analogues to sugar being produced in the process, and waste oxygen would be released into the atmosphere. Animals based on phosphorus and nitrogen would consume the plants, use atmospheric oxygen to metabolize the sugar analogues, exhaling nitrogen dioxide and depositing phosphorus, or phosphorus-rich material, as solid waste. Magnification of grains of sugar, showing their monoclinic hemihedral crystalline structure. ...


In an ammonia atmosphere, P-N plants would absorb ammonia from the air and phosphorus from the ground, then oxidize the ammonia to produce P-N sugars and release hydrogen waste. P-N animals are now the reducers, breathing in hydrogen and converting the P-N sugars to ammonia and phosphorus. This is the opposite pattern of oxidation and reduction from a nitrogen dioxide world, and indeed from the known biochemistry of Earth. It would be analogous to Earth's atmospheric carbon supply being in the form of methane instead of carbon dioxide. Methane is a chemical compound with the molecular formula CH4. ... In order to meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article requires cleanup. ...


Debate continues, as several aspects of a phosphorus-nitrogen cycle biology would be energy deficient. Also, nitrogen and phosphorus are unlikely to occur in the ratios and quantity required in the real universe. Carbon, being preferentially formed during nuclear fusion, is more abundant and is more likely to end up in a preferred location.


Other exotic biochemical elements

Arsenic, which is chemically similar to phosphorus, while poisonous for most Earth life, is incorporated into the biochemistry of some organisms.[4] Some marine algae incorporate arsenic into complex organic molecules such as arsenosugars and arsenobetaines. Fungi and bacteria can produce volatile methylated arsenic compounds. Both arsenate reduction and arsenite oxidation have been observed in microbes.[5] Additionally, some prokaryotes can use arsenate as a terminal electron acceptor during anaerobic growth and some can utilize arsenite as an electron donor to generate energy. General Name, Symbol, Number arsenic, As, 33 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 15, 4, p Appearance metallic gray Standard atomic weight 74. ... General Name, Symbol, Number phosphorus, P, 15 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 15, 3, p Appearance waxy white/ red/ black/ colorless Standard atomic weight 30. ...


Chlorine is sometimes proposed as a biological alternative to oxygen, either in carbon-based biologies or hypothetical non-carbon-based ones. But chlorine is much less abundant than oxygen in the universe, and so planets with a sufficiently chlorine-rich atmosphere are likely to be rare, if they exist at all. Chlorine will instead likely be bound up in the form of salts and other inert compounds. General Name, Symbol, Number chlorine, Cl, 17 Chemical series halogens Group, Period, Block 17, 3, p Appearance yellowish green Standard atomic weight 35. ... General Name, Symbol, Number oxygen, O, 8 Chemical series nonmetals, chalcogens Group, Period, Block 16, 2, p Appearance colorless (gas) very pale blue (liquid) Standard atomic weight 15. ... For other uses, see Salt (disambiguation). ...


Sulfur is also able to form long-chain molecules, but suffers from the same high reactivity problems that phosphorus and silanes do. The biological use of sulfur as an alternative to carbon is purely theoretical, but strains of sulfur-reducing bacteria have been discovered in exotic locations on earth, and also not so exotic locations, such as aging water systems.[6] These bacteria can utilize elemental sulfur instead of oxygen, reducing sulfur to hydrogen sulfide. Examples of this type of metabolism are green sulfur bacteria and purple sulfur bacteria. General Name, Symbol, Number sulfur, S, 16 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 16, 3, p Appearance lemon yellow Standard atomic weight 32. ... Sulfur-reducing bacteria specialize in producing energy by reducing elemental sulfur to hydrogen sulfide with hydrogen or organic compounds. ... Hydrogen sulfide (hydrogen sulphide in British English), H2S, is a colorless, toxic, flammable gas that is responsible for the foul odor of rotten eggs and flatulence. ... Green sulfur bacteria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Families Chromatiaceae Ectothiorhodospiraceae Halothiobacillaceae The purple sulfur bacteria are a group of Proteobacteria capable of photosynthesis, collectively referred to as purple bacteria. ...


Alternative energy sources

Wikinews has related news:
Plants on other planets may not be green

Physicists have noted that, while photosynthesis on Earth generally involves green plants, a variety of other colored plants could also support photosynthesis, essential for most life on Earth, and that other colors might be preferred in places that receive a different mix of solar radiation than that received on Earth.[7] These studies indicate that no photosynthetic plants would be blue-colored, because blue light provides some of the highest photosynthetic yields in the light spectrum. The physicists base their conclusions not on chemistry, but on the physical quality of different frequencies of light produced by known types of stars. Image File history File links WikiNews-Logo. ... Wikinews is a free-content news source and a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. ...


One terrestrial example of energy conversion based on something other than ordinary light involves fungi that convert high energy (compared to visible light) gamma rays into useful energy using the pigment melanin.[8] In most organisms, melanin, a black pigment, instead protects the organisms against ultraviolet and solar radiation.[8] Ordinarily, of course, fungi derived their energy from decomposing other biomass, rather than by converting radiation into energy for itself. Divisions Chytridiomycota Zygomycota Ascomycota Basidiomycota The Fungi (singular: fungus) are a large group of organisms ranked as a kingdom within the Domain Eukaryota. ... This article is about electromagnetic radiation. ... Broadly, melanin is any of the polyacetylene, polyaniline, and polypyrrole blacks and browns or their mixed copolymers. ...


Non-water solvents

In addition to carbon compounds, all currently known terrestrial life also requires water as a solvent. It is sometimes assumed that water is the only suitable chemical to fill this role. Some of the properties of water that are important for life processes include a large temperature range over which it is liquid, a high heat capacity useful for temperature regulation, a large heat of vaporization, and the ability to dissolve a wide variety of compounds. There are other chemicals with similar properties that have sometimes been proposed as alternatives. Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ...


Ammonia

Ammonia is perhaps the most commonly proposed alternative. Numerous chemical reactions are possible in an ammonia solution, and liquid ammonia has some chemical similarities with water. Ammonia can dissolve most organic molecules at least as well as water does, and in addition it is capable of dissolving many elemental metals. Given this set of chemical properties it has been theorized that ammonia-based life forms might be possible. Ammonia is a compound with the formula NH3. ...


However, ammonia does have some problems as a basis for life. The hydrogen bonds between ammonia molecules are weaker than those in water, causing ammonia's heat of vaporization to be half that of water, its surface tension to be three times smaller, and reducing its ability to concentrate non-polar molecules through a hydrophobic effect. For these reasons, science questions how well ammonia could hold prebiotic molecules together in order to allow the emergence of a self-reproducing system. Ammonia is also combustible and oxidizable and could not exist sustainably in a biosphere that oxidizes it. It would, however, be stable in a reducing environment. In chemistry, a hydrogen bond is a type of attractive intermolecular force that exists between two partial electric charges of opposite polarity. ... The heat of vaporization is a physical property of substances. ... In physics, surface tension is an effect within the surface layer of a liquid that causes that layer to behave as an elastic sheet. ... In chemistry, hydrophobic or lipophilic species, or hydrophobes, tend to be electrically neutral and nonpolar, and thus prefer other neutral and nonpolar solvents or molecular environments. ... A reducing environment is one chacterized by little or no free oxygen (dissolved or as a gas). ...


A biosphere based on ammonia would likely exist at temperatures or air pressures that are extremely unusual for terrestrial life. Terrestrial life usually exists within the melting point and boiling point of water at normal pressure, between 0°C (273 K) and 100°C (373 K); at normal pressure ammonia's melting and boiling points are between −78°C (195 K) and −33°C (240 K). Such extremely cold temperatures create problems, as they slow biochemical reactions tremendously and may cause biochemical precipitation out of solution due to high melting points. Ammonia could be a liquid at normal temperatures, but at much higher pressures; for example, at 60 atm, ammonia melts at −77°C (196 K) and boils at 98°C (371 K). A false-color composite of global oceanic and terrestrial photoautotroph abundance, from September 1997 to August 2000. ... Italic text This article is about the boiling point of liquids. ... Atmospheric pressure is the pressure caused by the weight of air above any area in the Earths atmosphere. ... Celsius is, or relates to, the Celsius temperature scale (previously known as the centigrade scale). ... The kelvin (symbol: K) is a unit increment of temperature and is one of the seven SI base units. ... The melting point of a crystalline solid is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. ... Standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit of pressure. ...


Ammonia and ammonia-water mixtures remain liquid at temperatures far below the freezing point of pure water, so such biochemistries might be well suited to planets and moons orbiting outside the water-based "habitability zone". Such conditions could exist, for example, under the surface of Saturn's largest moon Titan.[9] The habitability zone of a star is the region surrounding it in whch temperatures are suitable for water to be liquid. ... Atmospheric characteristics Atmospheric pressure 140 kPa Hydrogen >93% Helium >5% Methane 0. ... Titan (, from Ancient Greek Τῑτάν) or Saturn VI is the largest moon of Saturn and the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere. ...


Hydrogen fluoride

Hydrogen fluoride, like water, is a polar molecule, and due to its polarity it can dissolve many ionic compounds. Its melting point is -84°C and its boiling point is 19.54°C; the difference between the two is more than 100°C. HF also makes hydrogen bonds with its neighbor molecules as do water and ammonia. All of these things make HF a candidate to host life on other planets. Hydrogen fluoride is a chemical compound with the formula HF. Together with hydrofluoric acid, it is the principal industrial source of fluorine and hence the precursor to many important compounds including pharmaceuticals and polymers (e. ...


Not much research has been done on liquid HF in regards to its ability to dissolve and react with non-polar molecules. It is possible that the biota in an HF ocean could use the fluorine as an electron acceptor to photosynthesize energy. General Name, Symbol, Number fluorine, F, 9 Chemical series halogens Group, Period, Block 17, 2, p Appearance Yellowish brown gas Atomic mass 18. ...


Other solvents

Other solvents sometimes proposed include methanol, hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen chloride. The latter two suffer from a relatively low cosmic abundance of sulfur and chlorine, which tend to be bound up in solid minerals. A mixture of hydrocarbons, such as the methane/ethane lakes detected on Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, could act as a solvent over a wide range of temperatures but would lack polarity. Isaac Asimov, the biochemist and science fiction writer, suggested that poly-lipids could form a substitute for proteins in a non-polar solvent such as methane or liquid hydrogen.[10] Other solvents such as formamide might also be suitable as a solvent that would support alternative biochemistry. Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, carbinol, wood alcohol, wood naptha or wood spirits, is a chemical compound with chemical formula CH3OH. It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colourless, flammable, poisonous liquid with a distinctive odor that is somewhat milder and sweeter than ethanol (ethyl alcohol). ... Hydrogen sulfide (hydrogen sulphide in British English), H2S, is a colorless, toxic, flammable gas that is responsible for the foul odor of rotten eggs and flatulence. ... R-phrases , S-phrases , , , , Flash point non-flammable Supplementary data page Structure and properties n, εr, etc. ... Oil refineries are key to obtaining hydrocarbons; crude oil is processed through several stages to form desirable hydrocarbons, used in fuel and other commercial products. ... A commonly-used example of a polar compound is water (H2O). ... Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920?[1] – April 6, 1992), IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American Jewish author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... A biochemist is a scientist trained and dedicated to producing results in the discipline of biochemistry. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Figure 1: Basic lipid structure. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Formamide, also known as Methanamide (IUPAC) and Carbamaldehyde, formula HCONH2 is an amide derived from formic acid. ...


A proposal has been made that life on Mars may actually exist and be using a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide as its solvent. A 61.2 percent (by weight) mix of water and hydrogen peroxide has a freezing point of -56.5 degrees Celsius, and also tends to super-cool rather than crystallizing. It is also hygroscopic, an advantage in a water-scarce environment.[11][12] Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a very pale blue liquid which appears colourless in a dilute solution, slightly more viscous than water. ... Supercooling is the process of chilling a liquid below its melting point, without it becoming solid. ... A hygroscopic substance is a substance that absorbs water readily from its surroundings. ...


Interstellar dust-based life

In 2007 V. N. Tsytovich and colleagues discovered the possibility of life-like behaviors being exhibited by dust particles suspended in a plasma, similar to conditions in interstellar space.[13][14] Computer models showed that when the dust became charged the particles could self-organize into microscopic helical structures capable of replicating themselves, interacting with other neighboring structures, and evolving into more stable forms. Similar forms of life were speculated on in Fred Hoyle's classic novel The Black Cloud. Look up plasma in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Sir Frederick Hoyle, FRS, (born on June 24, 1915 in Gilstead, Yorkshire, England – August 20, 2001 in Bournemouth, England)[1] was a British astronomer, he was educated at Bingley Grammar School and notable for a number of his theories that run counter to current astronomical opinion, and a writer of... Spoiler warning: The Black Cloud is a science fiction novel written by famed astrophysicist Fred Hoyle. ...


In fiction

In the realm of science fiction there have occasionally been forms of life proposed that, while often highly speculative and unsupported by rigorous theoretical examination, are nevertheless interesting and in some cases even somewhat plausible.


Novels, short stories and comics

An example of silicon based life forms takes place in the novel Sentenced to Prism by Alan Dean Foster in which the protagonist Evan Orgell finds himself trapped on a planet whose entire ecosystem is mostly silicon-based. Sentenced to Prism (1985) is a science fiction novel written by Alan Dean Foster. ... Alan Dean Foster (born November 18, 1946) is a prolific American writer of science fiction and fantasy novels and movie novelizations. ...


Perhaps the most extreme example in science fiction is James White's Sector General: a series of novels and short stories about multienvironment hospital for the strangest lifeforms imaginable, some of them breathing methane, chlorine, water and sometimes also oxygen. Some of the species metabolise directly hard radiation and their environment doesn't differ much from the atmosphere of a star, while others live in near absolute zero temperatures. All of the life forms are classified according to their metabolism, internal and external features, and more extreme abilities (telepathy, empathy, hive mind, etc) with four letter codes. Humans from Earth share the DBDG specification with small furry beings called Nidians. James White (April 7, 1928 - August 23, 1999) was a prolific Northern Irish author of science fiction novellas, short stories, and novels. ... Sector General is a series of science fiction books, created and written by Irish SF author James White. ...


The Spiderman villain, Sandman is an example of a silicon based organism in comicbooks.


One of the major sentient species in Terry Pratchett's Discworld universe are the silicon-based Trolls. Terence David John Pratchett OBE (born April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England[1]) is an English fantasy author, best known for his Discworld series. ... The Discworld is the fictional setting for all of Terry Pratchetts Discworld fantasy novels. ... Trolls in Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels, unlike the monstrous trolls of folklore and J.R.R. Tolkien, have been subverted into a moderately civilised race. ...


Pratchett has also written the science fiction novel The Dark Side of the Sun which features a range of extraordinary lifeforms, including a telepathic body of water, creatures called "Sundogs", which are capable of interstellar travel from birth, and a sentient planet: effectively a giant silicon-based computer. The Dark Side of the Sun is a comic science fiction novel by Terry Pratchett, first published in 1976. ...


Fred Hoyle's classic novel The Black Cloud features a life form consisting of a vast cloud of interstellar dust, the individual particles of which interact via electromagnetic signalling analogous to how the individual cells of multicellular terrestrial life interact. Outside of science-fiction, life in interstellar dust has been proposed as part of the panspermia hypothesis. The low temperatures and densities of interstellar clouds would seem to imply that life processes would operate much more slowly there than on Earth. Inorganic dust-based life has been speculated upon based on recent computer simulations.[14] Sir Frederick Hoyle, FRS, (born on June 24, 1915 in Gilstead, Yorkshire, England – August 20, 2001 in Bournemouth, England)[1] was a British astronomer, he was educated at Bingley Grammar School and notable for a number of his theories that run counter to current astronomical opinion, and a writer of... Spoiler warning: The Black Cloud is a science fiction novel written by famed astrophysicist Fred Hoyle. ... Panspermia is a proven process (based on the principles of Biology, Microbiology, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, and assumption that life existed already in the universe) that explains how all life in the universe and/or solar system comes from a seed of life. ...


Similarly, Arthur C. Clarke's "Crusade" revolves around a planetwide lifeform based on silicon and superfluid helium located in deep intergalactic space, processing its thoughts very slowly by human standards, that sends probes to look for similar life in nearby galaxies. It concludes that it needs to make planets more habitable for similar lifeforms, and sends out other probes to foment supernovae in order to do so. Clarke implies that this is what accounts for most supernovae having occurred in the same region of space and warns that the effort will eventually reach Earth.[citation needed]Robert L. Forward's Camelot 30K describes an ecosystem existing on the surface of Kuiper belt objects that is based on a fluorocarbon chemistry with OF2 as the principal solvent instead of H2O. The organisms in this ecology keep themselves warm by secreting a pellet of uranium-235 inside themselves and then moderating its nuclear fission using a boron-rich carapace around it. Kuiper belt objects are known to be rich in organic compounds such as tholins, so some form of life existing on their surfaces is not entirely implausible–though perhaps not going so far as to develop natural internal nuclear reactors, as have Forward's. Fluorine is also of low cosmic abundance, so its use in this manner is unlikely. [citation needed] Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE (born 16 December 1917) is a British science-fiction author and inventor, most famous for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, and for collaborating with director Stanley Kubrick on the film of the same name. ... Multiwavelength X-ray image of the remnant of Keplers Supernova, SN 1604. ... Robert Lull Forward, commonly known as Robert L. Forward, (August 15, 1932 - September 21, 2002) was an American physicist and science fiction writer. ... Camelot 30K is a hard science fiction novel written by the United States physicist Robert L. Forward. ... The Kuiper belt (KYE per) is an area of the solar system extending from within the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to 50 AU from the sun, at inclinations consistent with the ecliptic. ... Some important fluorocarbons. ... Oxygen difluoride is a chemical compound whose formula is OF2. ... Uranium-235 is an isotope of uranium that differs from the elements other common isotope, uranium-238, by its ability to cause a rapidly expanding fission chain reaction. ... General Name, Symbol, Number boron, B, 5 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 13, 2, p Appearance black/brown Standard atomic weight 10. ... Tholin is a heteropolymer formed by solar ultraviolet irradiation of simple organic compounds such as methane or ethane. ...


In Forward's Rocheworld series, a relatively Earth-like biochemistry is proposed that uses a mixture of water and ammonia as its solvent. In Dragon's Egg and Starquake, Forward proposes life on the surface of a neutron star utilizing "nuclear chemistry" in the degenerate matter crust. Since such life utilised strong nuclear forces instead of electromagnetic interactions, it was posited that life might function millions of times faster than typical on Earth. Rocheworld Rocheworld (1990) AKA The Flight of the Dragonfly (1984) is a science fiction novel by Robert Forward. ... Dragons Egg is a science fiction novel written by Robert Forward in 1980. ... Starquake is a science fiction novel written by Robert Forward in 1989, ISBN 0-595-16748-9. ... A neutron star is one of the few possible endpoints of stellar evolution. ... Degenerate matter is matter which has sufficiently high density that the dominant contribution to its pressure arises from the Pauli exclusion principle. ... The strong nuclear force or strong interaction (also called color force or colour force) is a fundamental force of nature which affects only quarks and antiquarks, and is mediated by gluons in a similar fashion to how the electromagnetic force is mediated by photons. ... In physics, the electromagnetic force is the force that the electromagnetic field exerts on electrically charged particles. ...


Gregory Benford and David Brin's Heart of the Comet features a comet with a conventional carbon-and-water-based ecosystem that becomes active near the perihelion when the Sun warms it. Brin's own novel Sundiver is an example of science fiction proposing a form of life existing within the plasma atmosphere of a star using complex self-sustaining magnetic fields. Similar sorts of plasmoid life have sometimes been proposed to exist in other places, such as planetary ionospheres or interstellar space, but usually only by fringe theorists (see ball lightning for some additional discussion).[citation needed] Gregory Benford had a form of plasma-based life exist in the accretion disk of a primordial black hole in his novel Eater. Gregory Benford (born January 30, 1941 in Mobile, Alabama) is an American science fiction author and physicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. ... Glen David Brin, Ph. ... Heart of the Comet is a novel by David Brin and Gregory Benford, published in 1986. ... Comet Hale-Bopp Comet West For other uses, see Comet (disambiguation). ... This article is about several astronomical terms (apogee & perigee, aphelion & perihelion, generic equivalents based on apsis, and related but rarer terms. ... Sundiver is the first book of David Brins first uplift trilogy. ... A Plasma lamp In physics and chemistry, a plasma is an ionized gas, and is usually considered to be a distinct phase of matter. ... STAR is an acronym for: Organizations Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers], the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticket industry in the UK. Society for Telescopy, Astronomy, and Radio, a non-profit New Jersey astronomy club. ... Magnetic field lines shown by iron filings In physics, a magnetic field is a solenoidal vector field in the space surrounding moving electric charges and magnetic dipoles, such as those in electric currents and magnets. ... Relationship of the atmosphere and ionosphere The ionosphere is the uppermost part of the atmosphere, distinguished because it is ionized by solar radiation. ... Interstellar Space was one of the last albums recorded before the death of John Coltrane in 1967. ... Ball lightning repeatedly takes the form of a glowing, floating object often the size and shape of a basketball, but it can also be golf ball sized or smaller. ... An accretion disc (or accretion disk) is a structure formed by material falling into a gravitational source. ... A black hole concept drawing by NASA A primordial black hole is a hypothetical type of black hole that is formed not by the gravitational collapse of a star but by the extreme density of matter present during the universes early expansion. ... Eater is a hard science fiction novel written by UC- Irvine physics professor Gregory Benford. ...


The suggestion that life could even occur within the plasma of a star has been picked up by other science fiction writers, as in David Brin's Uplift Saga. Any place in which reactions occur–even an incredible environment as a star–presents a possible medium for some chain of events that could produce a system able to replicate itself.[citation needed] Glen David Brin, Ph. ... The Uplift Universe is a fictional universe created by science fiction writer David Brin. ...


The Outsiders in Larry Niven's Known Space universe are cryogenic creatures based on liquid helium. They derive thermoelectric energy from a temperature gradient by basking half their body in sunlight, keeping the other half in shadow and exposed to interstellar vacuum. The Outsiders are an alien race in Larry Nivens Known Space series. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Known Space is the fictional setting of several science fiction novels and short stories written by author Larry Niven. ... Cryogenics is a branch of physics (or engineering) that studies the production of very low temperatures (below –150 °C, –238 °F or 123 K) and the behavior of materials at those temperatures. ... Helium exists in liquid form only at very low temperatures. ... Thermoelectricity is the conversion from temperature differentials to electricity or vice versa. ...


Stephen Baxter has imagined perhaps some of the most unusual exotic lifeforms in his Xeelee series of novels and stories, including supersymmetric photino-based life that congregate in the gravity wells of stars, and the Qax, who thrive in any form of convection cells, from swamp gas to the atmospheres of gas giants. Stephen Baxter (born in Liverpool, 13 November 1957) is a British hard science fiction author. ... Stephen Baxter (born in Liverpool, November 13, 1957) is a British hard science fiction author. ... In particle physics, supersymmetry is a hypothetical symmetry that relates bosons and fermions. ... A photino is a subatomic particle, the fermion WIMP superpartner of the photon predicted by supersymmetry. ... A convection cell is a phenomenon of fluid dynamics which occurs in situations where there are temperature differences within a body of liquid or gas. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


In his novel Diaspora, Greg Egan posits the existence of entire virtual universes implemented on Turing Machines encoded by Wang Tiles in gargantuan polysaccharide 'carpets.' The sentient ocean that covers much of the surface of Solaris in Stanislaw Lem's eponymous novel also seems, from much of the fictional research quoted and discussed in the book, to based on some element other than carbon. Diaspora is a 1997 science fiction novel by Australian writer Greg Egan. ... Greg Egan (August 20, 1961, Perth, Western Australia) is an Australian computer programmer and science fiction author. ... An artistic representation of a Turing Machine . ... Wang tiles (or Wang dominoes), first proposed by Hao Wang in 1961, are equal-sized squares with a color on each edge which give rise to a simple undecidable decision problem. ... Polysaccharides (sometimes called glycans) are relatively complex carbohydrates. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... Cover by Oscar Chichoni for the Spanish edition Solaris is a Polish science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem (1921-2006), published in Warsaw in 1961 and probably his most famous work. ...


In her novel Brain Plague, Joan Slonczewski describes a species of intelligent microrganisms with arsenic based chemistries that live symbiotically with human hosts. Joan Lyn Slonczewski is a biologist who teaches at Kenyon. ... General Name, Symbol, Number arsenic, As, 33 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 15, 4, p Appearance metallic gray Standard atomic weight 74. ...


Sergeant Schlock is one of the lead characters in the webcomic Schlock Mercenary. His species, Carbosilicate Amorphs, evolved from self-repairing distributed data storage devices, and as such, redundantly distribute their 'brain' throughout their body. They are highly resistant to Hard Vacuum, explosive decompression, projectile weapons, chemical-based explosives, and dismemberment. Their only specialty organ is their eyes, which they harvest as fruit from the Ghanj-Rho eye-tree on their home planet. While the Amorphs have the ability to move fast, quietly,[15] and sprout apendages at will, they excel at 'closer-then-melee-range combat, primarily "meme-toxins" against other Amorphs. This article is about the characters from Schlock Mercenary, a hard sci-fi webcomic. ... Schlock Mercenary is a webcomic by Howard Tayler that follows the adventures of a mercenary company aboard a starship in a 31st-century space opera setting. ... This article is about the characters from Schlock Mercenary, a hard sci-fi webcomic. ... In computing, a data storage device—as the name implies—is a device for storing data. ... Explosive decompression (ED) is a sudden drop in pressure that occurs in 0. ... A projectile is any object sent through space by the application of a force. ...


A more humorous example comes from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where the Hooloovoo are a hyperintelligent shade of the colour blue. The cover of the first novel in the Hitchhikers series, from a late 1990s printing. ...


Star Trek

A Horta, a fictional silicon based lifeform in the Star Trek universe.
A Horta, a fictional silicon based lifeform in the Star Trek universe.

A well-known example of a non–carbon-based lifeform in science fiction is the Horta in the original Star Trek episode "The Devil in the Dark". A highly intelligent silicon-based creature made almost entirely of pure rock, it tunnels through rock as easily as humans move through air. The entire species dies out every 50,000 years save for one who tends all the eggs, which take the form of silicon nodules scattered throughout the caverns and tunnels of its home planet, Janus VI. The inadvertent destruction of many of these eggs by a human mining colony led the mother Horta to respond by murdering the colonists and sabotaging their equipment; it was only through a Vulcan mind meld that the race's benevolence and intelligence were discovered and peaceful relations established. Image from Star Trek: The Original Series episode, The Devil in the Dark © 1967 Paramount Pictures, produced by Gene Roddenberry. ... Image from Star Trek: The Original Series episode, The Devil in the Dark © 1967 Paramount Pictures, produced by Gene Roddenberry. ... Kirk faces off the Horta in The Devil in the Dark. In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the Horta are a silicon-based species, introduced in the original series episode The Devil in the Dark. An intelligent species indigenous to the planet Janus IV, the Horta can comfortably live... The current Star Trek franchise logo Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series and media franchise. ... Kirk faces off the Horta in The Devil in the Dark. In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the Horta are a silicon-based species, introduced in the original series episode The Devil in the Dark. An intelligent species indigenous to the planet Janus IV, the Horta can comfortably live... The starship Enterprise as it appeared on Star Trek Star Trek is a culturally significant science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s. ... The Devil in the Dark is a first season episode Star Trek: The Original Series which first aired on March 9, 1967. ... This article is becoming very long. ... It has been suggested that Tplana-hath be merged into this article or section. ...


Star Trek would later offer other corporeal lifeforms with an alternative biochemistry. The Tholians of "The Tholian Web" are depicted and described, in that episode and later in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly" as being primarily of mineral-based composition and thriving only in superheated conditions. Another episode from TOS's third season, "The Savage Curtain", depicted another rock creature called an Excalbian, which is believed in fanon to also have been silicon-based.[citation needed] A Tholian, as depicted in Star Trek: Enterprise. ... The Tholian Web is a third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. ... The starship Enterprise (NX-01) Star Trek: Enterprise is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe. ... In a Mirror, Darkly is a two-part episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. ... The Savage Curtain a third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, is the antepenultimate series episode, first broadcast on March 7, 1969 and repeated July 1, 1969. ... Fanon is a fact or ongoing situation related to a television program, book, movie, or video game that has been used so much by fan writers or among the fandom that it has been more or less established as having happened in the fictional world, but it has not actually...


Later on, in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Crystalline Entity appeared in one episode, Silicon Avatar and was referenced in another, Datalore. This was an enormous spacefaring crystal lattice that had taken thousands of lives in its quest for energy. It may have been unaware of this, however, but it was destroyed before communications could be established at a level sufficient to ascertain it. The title as it appeared in most episodes opening credits. ... In the fictional Star Trek universe the Crystalline Entity is an enormous spacefaring life-form. ... Silicon Avatar is a fifth season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. ... Datalore is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. ... Enargite crystals In mineralogy and crystallography, a crystal structure is a unique arrangement of atoms in a crystal. ...


In another episode, Home Soil, intelligent crystals that formed a "microbrain" were discovered during a terraforming mission, and they described the humans they encountered as "ugly bags of mostly water." Home Soil is a first season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, first broadcast February 22, 1988. ...


"The Disease", an episode of Star Trek:Voyager featured some artificially-engineered silicon-based parasites, and an Enterprise episode, "Observer Effect", also presented a lethal silicon-based virus. In another Voyager episode, "Hope and Fear", a xenon-based lifeform was mentioned. In the Enterprise episode The Communicator, an alien species is encountered whose blood chemistry, while not explicitly stated, is sufficiently different to terrestrial organisms that it is not red and iron is toxic to it. The starship Voyager (NCC-74656), an Intrepid-class starship. ... Observer Effect is the name of the 87th episode from the television series Star Trek: Enterprise. ... General Name, Symbol, Number xenon, Xe, 54 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 5, p Appearance colorless Standard atomic weight 131. ...


Star Wars

In the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back, two lifeforms were encountered by the characters that were non-carbon based entities. Although details of their physiology were not mentioned on screen, the Space slug, (a giant worm-like creature that lived on asteroids in the freezing vacuum of space), and the Mynock, (pesky bat-like vermin that would attach themselves to spaceship hulls and chew through power conduits to feed off the raw energy), are said to be silicon-based organisms in expanded universe sources.[citation needed]. Also from The Empire Strikes Back, the bounty hunter Zuckuss is a member of the Gand race, an ammonia-based lifeform. However, it is worth noting that the Gand are divided into two subspecies, only one of which breathes at all, the other drawing all their required sustenance from food intake and producing speech by means of essentially modulated flatulence. Star Wars is an epic space opera saga and a fictional universe initially developed by George Lucas during the 1970s and expanded since that time. ... Movie poster Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the sequel to the first released Star Wars movie, and the second film released in the original trilogy. ... This is a list of creatures in the fictional Star Wars universe. ... This is a list of creatures in the fictional Star Wars universe. ... A bounty hunter is an individual who seeks out fugitives (hunting) for a monetary reward (bounty), for apprehending by law, if such laws exist. ... This article is about minor characters in the fictional Star Wars universe who are bounty hunters. ... // The Falleen are a scaled, cold-blooded, reptilian humanoid species with pigmentation that varies with mood, known to be as long lived as the Hutts (the Falleen have an average lifespan of 250 Standard Years) who inhabit and originate from the planet Falleen. ... Flatulence (expelled through the anus in a process commonly known as farting or emitting gas) is the presence of a mixture of gases known as flatus in the digestive tract of mammals. ...


A purely expanded universe creature is the Spice Spider of Kessel is a silicon-based creature that spun crystalline webs that miners harvested as Glitterstim Spice, an illegal psychoactive narcotic. The spider used the webs to catch Bogies, tiny energy creatures that it fed upon.[citation needed] This is a list of creatures in the fictional Star Wars universe. ... This is about the municipality in the Netherlands. ... In the fictional Star Wars universe, spice usually refers to an illegal narcotic or a controlled substance. ...


Other film and television

In "Firewalker", a second-season episode of The X-Files, a silicon-based plant that infects humans parasitically through its spores is discovered living deep in a volcano. This article contains episode information and plot summaries from the television show The X-Files. ... The X-Files is a Peabody- and Emmy Award-winning science fiction television series created by Chris Carter, which first aired on September 10, 1993, and ended on May 19, 2002. ... A parasite is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life in or on the living tissue of a host organism and which causes harm to the host without immediately killing it. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... For other uses, see Volcano (disambiguation). ...


Also from The X-Files, the first-season episode 'Ice' deal with an ammonia-based vermiform parasite. List of epsiodes from the television show The X-Files, with plot synopses for each episode. ... Ice was the eighth episode of the first season of The X-Files science-fiction television series created by Chris Carter. ... Vermiform is an adjective meaning worm-like. ... A parasite is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life in or on the living tissue of a host organism and which causes harm to the host without immediately killing it. ...


A key plot point in the comedy Evolution involves nitrogen-based life forms, and using selenium-based shampoo to poison them (with the bonus of a product placement for Head & Shoulders). The word comedy has a classical meaning (comical theatre) and a popular one (the use of humor with an intent to provoke laughter in general). ... This article is about the 2001 science-fiction comedy film. ... General Name, Symbol, Number nitrogen, N, 7 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 15, 2, p Appearance colorless gas Standard atomic weight 14. ... Se redirects here. ... Shampoo is a common hair care product used for the removal of oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in hair. ... Head & Shoulders is a famous brand of anti-dandruff shampoo produced by Procter & Gamble. ...


In the Stargate SG-1 fourth season episode "Scorched Earth", a Human society known as the Enkarans are threatened on their new homeworld by an alien ship that is terraforming the planet to be suitable for the sulfur-based Gadmeer species. Stargate SG-1 (often abbreviated as SG-1) is a science fiction television series, part of the Stargate franchise. ... A scorched earth policy is a military tactic which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. ... This is a list of the human civilizations featured in the television series Stargate SG-1. ... General Name, Symbol, Number sulfur, S, 16 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 16, 3, p Appearance lemon yellow Standard atomic weight 32. ... The Gadmeer The Gadmeer are a fictional race on the television series Stargate SG-1. ...


Computer and video games

In the Command & Conquer real-time strategy games, both the gameplay and storyline revolve heavily around the introduction to Earth of an extraterrestrial mutagen called Tiberium via meteor, which displays strikingly lifelike behaviours such as self-replication, evolution, and homeostasis, without necessarily undergoing anything like common carbon-based metabolic cycles, and which appears to be colonising the Earth, converting it into an environment unsuited to carbon-based biology. Earth creatures (such as animals, plants and even humans) exposed to Tiberium can either be killed because of the radiation or be transformed into Tiberium-based lifeforms, to whom Tiberium radiation is curative rather than toxic. It is later revealed that Tiberium was introduced to earth by the Scrin, an extremely advanced race of Tiberium-based aliens bent on mining the planet after the Tiberium deposits have reached maturity. The most recent version of the series logo, which appears in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars Command & Conquer (often abbreviated as C&C or CnC) is a series of video games, mostly of the real-time strategy style as well as a single first-person shooter game based on the... Real-time strategy (often abbreviated as RTS) is a genre of computer wargames which take place in real-time, where resource gathering, base building, technology development and high-level control over individual units (harvest, build, destroy) are key components[1], which distinguishes it from related strategy wargame genres, such as... This article or section contains a plot summary that is overly long. ... This article or section contains a plot summary that is overly long or excessively detailed compared to the rest of the article. ...


In the Halo video game series, a race of Covenant aliens named "Grunts" by humans require a breathing apparatus while fighting the humans in an Earth-like atmosphere. According to the novelizations of the video game, the Grunts' apparatus allows them to breathe the methane they need to survive. Halo is video game series created by Bungie Studios. ...


In the Master of Orion series of space strategy games, there exists an extraterrestrial race called Silicoids, whose appearance (and presumably composition) is similar to crystalline mineral structures. The game posits that this grants them immunity to the effects of hostile environments and pollution, at the expense of impeding their reproductive rate and their ability to interact with other intelligent species. Master of Orion (MOO or MoO) is a turn-based science fiction computer strategy game developed by Steve Barcia (Simtex) and published by Microprose in 1993. ...


In Metroid Prime: Hunters, Spire is a rock-like, silicon based alien. He is the last Diamont (presumably a play on the word diamond, which is composed of carbon). Metroid Prime: Hunters is a first-person shooter adventure game for the Nintendo DS. Details of the game, which is part of the Metroid series, were announced at the annual Electronics Entertainment Expo (E³) show in 2004. ... This is a list of creatures in the Metroid series games Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime Hunters, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. ... This article is about the gemstone. ... General Name, symbol, number carbon, C, 6 Chemical series nonmetals Group, period, block 14, 2, p Appearance black (graphite) colorless (diamond) Standard atomic weight 12. ...


In the Star Control series, the Chenjesu, are intelligent, peaceful silicon-based lifeforms that were the backbone of the Alliance of Free Stars. The Star Control series is a trilogy of computer games with a cult following. ... The Chenjesu are a fictional race of aliens from the sci-fi computer game Star Control. ...


In the game of Xenosaga, artificial life forms known as Raelians have been created using silicon-based chemistry. They resemble humans in every aspect, except they are considered to be lower than humans on the social ladder. It has been suggested that List of Xenosaga cast members be merged into this article or section. ... For other uses, see Ladder (disambiguation). ...


See also

The DNA structure might not be the only nucleic acid in the universe capable of supporting life[1] Astrobiology (from Greek: ἀστρο, astro, constellation; βίος, bios, life; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of life in space, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology. ... Carbon forms the backbone of biology for all life on Earth. ... “Green people” redirects here. ... Non-cellular life is life that exists without cells. ... Alternative biology refers to the study of theoretical or non-traditional life forms such as acellular life, non-carbon-based life, extraterrestrial life, cyborg life or artificial life. ... The iron-sulfur world theory is a hypothesis for the origin of life advanced by Günter Wächtershäuser, a Munich chemist and patent lawyer, involving forms of iron and sulfur. ...

References

  1. ^ Gillette, Stephen. World-Building. Writer's Digest Books. 
  2. ^ Lazio, Joseph. F.10 Why do we assume that other beings must be based on carbon? Why couldn't organisms be based on other substances?. [sci.astro] ET Life (Astronomy Frequently Asked Questions). Retrieved on 2006-07-21.
  3. ^ Cairns-Smith, A. Graham (1985). Seven Clues to the Origin of Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-27522-9. 
  4. ^ http://umbbd.msi.umn.edu/periodic/elements/as.html
  5. ^ Niggemyer, A; Spring S, Stackebrandt E, Rosenzweig RF (Dec 2001). "Isolation and characterization of a novel As(V)-reducing bacterium: implications for arsenic mobilization and the genus Desulfitobacterium". Appl Environ Microbiol 67 (12): 5568-80. 
  6. ^ http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/dwg/sulferb.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/spectrum_plants.html
  8. ^ a b Dadachova, E; Bryan RA, Huang X, Moadel T, Schweitzer AD, et al. (2007). "Ionizing Radiation Changes the Electronic Properties of Melanin and Enhances the Growth of Melanized Fungi". PLoS ONE 2 (5): e457. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0000457. 
  9. ^ [1] As of 2006-03-02, the page appears unavailable.
  10. ^ Aliens. Atomic Rockets. Retrieved on 2006-03-03.
  11. ^ Houtkooper, Joop M.; Dirk Schulze-Makuch (2007). The H2O2-H2O Hypothesis: Extremophiles Adapted to Conditions on Mars?. European Planetary Science Congress 2007.
  12. ^ Ellison, Doug (Aug. 24, 2007). Europlanet : Life's a bleach. Planetary.org.
  13. ^ "Physicists Discover Inorganic Dust With Lifelike Qualities", Science Daily, August 15, 2007. 
  14. ^ a b Tsytovich, V N; G E Morfill, V E Fortov, N G Gusein-Zade, B A Klumov and S V Vladimirov (14 August 2007). "From plasma crystals and helical structures towards inorganic living matter". New J. Phys. 9 (263). DOI:10.1088/1367-2630/9/8/263. 
  15. ^ http://www.schlockmercenary.com/d/20060905.html
  • W. Bains (2004). "Many Chemistries Could Be Used to Build Living Systems". Astrobiology 4: 137-167. 

Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 202nd day of the year (203rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 62nd day of the year (63rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
biochemistry: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (5252 words)
Biochemistry straddles the biological and physical sciences and uses many techniques common in medicine and physiology as well as those of organic, analytical, and physical chemistry.
Biochemistry is the study of the structure and function of cellular components, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules.
Although the term “biochemistry” seems to have been first used in 1881, it is generally accepted that the formal coinage of biochemistry occurred in 1903 by Carl Neuber, a German chemist.
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