April 20, 2008

Other Platforms of Life

Imaginary but possible lifeforms on a jupiter-like planet. Photo from page 42 of Carl Sagan's Cosmos.
A post at io9 mentions the possibility of life aside from the usual carbon-based or water-based type.
I'm reminded of the musings and calculations of the late Carl Sagan (with his colleague E. E. Salpeter) regarding the form of life that may arise from a Jupiter-like planet. They would look like gigantic Jellyfish basked in gasses (such as ammonia and methane) that may be poisonous to us, but is the basis of their very life.
Because life that happens to sprout in a certain environment thrives off the available "resources" that happen to be there. We've seen it in extremophiles on our very own planet. It may very well be the case elsewhere.
With the multitude of combinations of different properties of stars and exoplanets (such as mass, temperature, chemical make-up) the possibilities and variety of life across the universe might be endless and may be totally anything we could ever imagine.

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