We are so accustomed to this that in trying to find life on other cosmic bodies, we do not admit that it could form there from other elements. Let’s try to imagine an alternative development of events in the Universe.
Silicon and oxygen
The properties of silicon and carbon are partially similar, but silicon atoms have a larger mass and radius, it is more difficult to form a covalent bond, which prevents the emergence of biopolymers.
It is also important to note that silicon compounds are not as diverse as carbon compounds.
Silicon and hydrogen compounds are resistant to high temperatures, which means that such life can originate on planets with a sufficiently high temperature.
Such a living creature will not need water, but liquid chemical compounds with a high boiling point.
Phosphorus and nitrogen
Phosphorus, like carbon, is able to form atomic chains, forming complex molecules. However, phosphorus needs to be less active for this, and nitrogen can help in this.
Together with nitrogen, it forms complex covalent bonds and this allows a wide variety of molecules to arise.
In this scenario, the origin of life is allowed on the planet, where the atmosphere is saturated with ammonia and, to a lesser extent, nitrogen.
Then the plants would receive nitrogen from the atmosphere, and phosphorus from the soil.
During the chemical reaction, ammonia would be oxidized and analogues of monosaccharides would appear. This simple reaction would end with the release of hydrogen.
Then hypothetical animals living on such a planet would breathe hydrogen, breaking down polysaccharides to ammonia and phosphorus, ensuring the cycle of elements in nature.
Nitrogen and hydrogen
Such compounds, when under pressure, are able to form more diverse chemistry than hydrocarbons.
On Earth, it is the diversity of hydrocarbons that has given rise to so many species of living beings. How diverse would life be based on hydrogen nitrogen?
In addition, there are a lot of compounds of nitrogen and hydrogen in the Universe. For example, Uranus and Neptune are about 8% ammonia, which is the simplest hydrogen nitric acid.
If we add oxygen and sulfur to such compounds, then the diversity will exceed all the limits of organic chemistry!
The search for life should not be limited to studying the composition of the atmosphere of a distant world, temperature indicators and the presence of liquid water.
Nature has an amazing imagination and she could “strange” anything.
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