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Alternate Biochemistry  XML
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Herculoids

Multicellular

Joined: 09/13/2008 15:53:17
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Its been a heck of a long time since I bothered with this aspect of chemistry but the reason by most life will most likely be carbon based is due to energy requirements.

Carbon is the best molecule for the job in forming complex molecules.

From what I recall silicon was second on the list. So you might see a silicon based life form, but don't expect many others, the chemistry just doesn't work.
phaolm

Microbe

Joined: 11/17/2008 23:05:23
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leestriter wrote:Life in spore, is obviously based on carbon. And by the assumption of most people on earth, without knowing it or knowingly, they assume life on other planets would also have to be based on carbon.

We all seem to suffer from Carbon chauvinism ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_chauvinism ) the belief that life on other planets would be like us, or more specifically based on carbon.

Now, could be even begin to imagine what life on other planets could be like? For all we know earth would kill them instantly.

Could life be based on silicon? Perhaps even arsenic?

Here is the wikipedia page so you can get some of the basic info needed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_biochemistry. What do you guys think?


you are quite wrong, life on spore is based on vlarbon. Its a lot like carbon but matter in the spore universe is obviously millions of times denser.

What makes you think its carbonesque anyways?

We must assume the spore universe has a higher gravitational constant or that life on the planets in spore is gigantic even making dinos look like insects.

there is no reason to believe or assume carbon or even any of the elements which exist in our universe.


phaolm

Microbe

Joined: 11/17/2008 23:05:23
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the carbon makes for easy life argument is true, but that only makes carbon the most likely basic block for life
in our universe given our green zone proximity to the sun and our atmosphere.

Other elements become more probable when you get hotter or colder, silicon life would have a green zone starting where mars is and extending maybe as far out as the saturn system.

While life in our basic chemistry and temperature range is most likely to be carbon based because of the nice arrangability of carbon atoms, it does not have to be so, life could be based on several different elements and each
possibility renders different complications, problems, and biochemistry for that kind of life.

Sulphur, quartz, gold, copper, .... all of the soft metals...

in fact there are few elements life could not be based on given the right conditions, including mere H20.

The other half of this argument poofs when you realize that we are mostly water, and that the carboness of us is
actually not that much, we are made of most of the whole elemental table, its just that some elements play into that more than others.

If you make a list of elements required in the current mix, what you find is that we are a complicated life form based on several different elements, not just one element.

Life elsewhere might have the ratios very different but have the same stuff in some ratios, or might have some but not other elements involved in similar but also different biochemical processes.

The long and the short of it is that almost all of the posts here in conjecture are also out of touch with science.

What is possible is much more complicated than what is probable,

and none of the assumptions made on either side make any sense.


Tutthoth

Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 10/10/2008 19:39:52
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EchelonX1 wrote:Everyone is assuming that the lifeforms will be made out of matter, what about lifeforms of pure energy such as the Ascended Beings in Stargate or the Some-race-who's-name-I-can't-remember-because-its-been-forever-since-I've-seen-that-episode from Star Trek, a being of pure energy would have several advantages over one made of matter, but yes, it would probably be pictured as a bright, glowing, blob.


That's my theorie on what Gods and Spirits are.

On another note, if we found gold based beings we would farm them, and cut them up, melt them, all for our own "jewelry".

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 01/08/2009 19:41:12


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ParadoxJuice

Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 10/10/2008 18:41:03
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Why does everyone think that life needs water? What if it survives off of electricity? Who says it needs anything to survive? Well, I would assume it needs something, but still, its possible.

Also, why does everyone keep taking examples from the periodic table? Those are all the known elements. There could be others. Something tottally different, unheard of...


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Worldbreaker276

Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 09/20/2008 21:45:02
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ParadoxJuice wrote:Why does everyone think that life needs water? What if it survives off of electricity? Who says it needs anything to survive? Well, I would assume it needs something, but still, its possible.

Also, why does everyone keep taking examples from the periodic table? Those are all the known elements. There could be others. Something tottally different, unheard of...


Actually there cannot be more than 7 electron shells in an atom, the amount of energy required to boost an electron to an eighth electron energy level would be ridiculous, and I believe violating the laws of physics (thermodynamics I believe )

And also, life cannot survive without energy, and even if its photosynthetic, it is still using sunlight for energy, all chemical reactions require energy, and life is technically a very complicated series of reactions (meeting the requirements for something to be considered alive as well), and electricity and radiation effect many atoms erratically, and can cause serious damage to most models we have for life. Additionally, the reason we assume life requires water is that there are very few other substances with similar properties, many of which appear to be essential for carbon based (and, as silicon is in the same group and even has the same charge as carbon, it most likely would apply to silicon based life).

Krayfishkarl

Multicellular

Joined: 10/01/2008 01:14:22
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Other possible alternate biochemistries are nitrogen and phosperous. In the movie Evolution, the aliens were Nitrogen based. (And they died from Selenium poisoning.)

-Krayfishkarl

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ShiningSilver

Microbe

Joined: 01/10/2009 04:35:24
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I have a question, Is it possible for a lifeform to be based on more than one element? Like carbon and silicon?
Vermil

Multicellular

Joined: 09/24/2008 17:33:32
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phaolm wrote:the carbon makes for easy life argument is true, but that only...


Frankly, a whole lot of the points you are claiming, make it apparent that you don't have a clue.

Other elements become more probable when you get hotter or colder, silicon life would have a green zone starting where mars is and extending maybe as far out as the saturn system.


Why?

in fact there are few elements life could not be based on given the right conditions, including mere H20.

The other half of this argument poofs when you realize that we are mostly water, and that the carboness of us is
actually not that much, we are made of most of the whole elemental table, its just that some elements play into that more than others.


Carbon is the very kernel of the very complicated compounds that make up life. It does not seem like the very huge, complex and infinitely varied molecules can be made up without Carbon. The fact that they contain other elements is irrelevant to this issue.

Water otoh is not an element but a very simple compound made up of two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen, and while it's essential to biochemical life as we know it, as a solvent, as an electrolyte, as a carrier fluid, as controlled environment... it does not in any way make up complex molecules.

The long and the short of it is that almost all of the posts here in conjecture are also out of touch with science.

What is possible is much more complicated than what is probable,

and none of the assumptions made on either side make any sense.

And you think it's appropriate that you make these claims here. Well, why?

Vermil

Multicellular

Joined: 09/24/2008 17:33:32
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ShiningSilver wrote:I have a question, Is it possible for a lifeform to be based on more than one element? Like carbon and silicon?


In a way it already is. Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen are extremely important and massively present in the molecules of life. But it is really Carbon that ties it all together.

Now what about Carbon based life that origins in liquid methane instead of water? I haven't given that much thought. Just throwing it out for discussion.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 01/10/2009 18:01:29


Explosives!

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My periodic table

And I promise it's not a rickroll.

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MethylOrange

Microbe

Joined: 12/31/2008 00:08:09
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Krayfishkarl wrote:Other possible alternate biochemistries are nitrogen and phosperous. In the movie Evolution, the aliens were Nitrogen based. (And they died from Selenium poisoning.)


Yup, but Arsenic is so poisonous to us because it has almost same chemical properties as phosphorus, which is basic element in bacbones of DNA and RNA.

Tarcin

Spacefaring Sporeling

Joined: 09/21/2008 20:57:38
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I read somewhere that there could be life that our body won't be able to detect. Because their bodies vibrate so fast it would take special equipment to see them. I don't think a mercury or lead based creature would be able to survive or form


Archereon

Civilized Sporeon

Joined: 12/20/2008 13:20:19
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Vermil wrote:
phaolm wrote:the carbon makes for easy life argument is true, but that only...


Frankly, a whole lot of the points you are claiming, make it apparent that you don't have a clue.

Other elements become more probable when you get hotter or colder, silicon life would have a green zone starting where mars is and extending maybe as far out as the saturn system.


Why?

in fact there are few elements life could not be based on given the right conditions, including mere H20.

The other half of this argument poofs when you realize that we are mostly water, and that the carboness of us is
actually not that much, we are made of most of the whole elemental table, its just that some elements play into that more than others.


Carbon is the very kernel of the very complicated compounds that make up life. It does not seem like the very huge, complex and infinitely varied molecules can be made up without Carbon. The fact that they contain other elements is irrelevant to this issue.

Water otoh is not an element but a very simple compound made up of two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen, and while it's essential to biochemical life as we know it, as a solvent, as an electrolyte, as a carrier fluid, as controlled environment... it does not in any way make up complex molecules.

The long and the short of it is that almost all of the posts here in conjecture are also out of touch with science.

What is possible is much more complicated than what is probable,

and none of the assumptions made on either side make any sense.

And you think it's appropriate that you make these claims here. Well, why?


Silicon is quite likely as a substitute for Carbon. It has the same charge potential, and tends to triple bond to itself in absence of oxygen. In fact, a sulfuric acid rich environment would be better for silicon based life than carbon many scientists believe.

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NemisisRaeyn

Microbe

Joined: 12/29/2008 22:07:29
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Now its true that carbon is the best suited for making life in our sort of environment. BUT I think the point (that some folks are missing) is that, while unlikely, It is POSSIBLE for life to form based on silicone in the proper environment.

Again, this is assuming that the life form functions similarly to carbon based life as we know it..

Now OTOH... Mechanical life forms are different and start becoming interestingly pheasable on the level where the machines in question are "cell sized." Such life is more likely a byproduct of another civilization that eventually started developing independantly of its original design, possibly changing and mutating through defects at first until it moves beyond being "merely machines." At which point it could very well evolve in a manner very similar to organic life... eventually into a higher organism.

 
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