“May the Force be with you” this phrase from the “Star Wars” George Lucas many fans beat in the form of a pun: May the fourth be with you. So it turned out that May 4 was an unofficial celebration of “Star Wars”, which is celebrated by all fans of space fantasy and gave rise to this genre of science fiction.
Thanks to such films, we have repeatedly seen how writers, screenwriters, filmmakers and computer graphics artists imagine themselves aliens. And how do scientists imagine the extraterrestrials?
Undoubtedly, scientists around the world – the most real, lecturing in leading universities and burdened with status and titles – are thinking about how alien life might look like. The last wave of such thinking was connected with the statement of Stephen Hawking, who in April 2017 pointed the attention of scientists looking for extraterrestrial life to the fact that the long-awaited find could become fatal for humanity: “Once, when we receive a signal from such a planet, we They must respond carefully to it.The encounter with a more advanced civilization may be similar to the meeting of the indigenous people of America with Columbus, and this meeting did not end well. ”
Conventionally, all scientists could be divided into three camps: some believe that our water-carbon life is unique to the universe, the latter – that is not unique, and still others – that we are very wrong, believing that living things can arise only from those Connections, as we ourselves. This position was even called in the scientific literature “carbon chauvinism.” The author of the term, the famous American astrophysicist Carl Sagan often said that the reason for searching for water-carbon extraterrestrial life is only the fact that its adherents themselves consist of carbon and water.
Really! Other chemical elements, for example, silicon can also form molecules of considerable complexity. It’s another matter that in such reflections one can go even further, as the American astronomer Victor Stenger, who argued that life does not necessarily have to consist of molecules, did. So this formed a conditional list of fictitious creatures that could theoretically exist in different atmospheric and atmosphereless atmospheres.
How could extraterrestrial beings look like?
Plasmoids are creatures inhabiting stellar atmospheres. They are formed due to magnetic forces associated with groups of mobile electrical charges.
Radiobas are inhabitants of interstellar clouds. They are complex aggregates of atoms in a state of excitation.
Lavobas are organized structures of silicon, living in lakes of molten lava on very hot planets.
Vodorobes are amoeboid forms floating in liquid methane and extracting energy from the transformation of orthohydrogen to parahydrogen.
Thermophages are a kind of cosmic life that releases energy from a temperature gradient in the atmosphere or oceans of the planet.
All these theoretically existing kinds of life are united in the following parameters: they can extract and give energy, they are capable of preserving form and self-reproducing. And now you can see: what can replace water, oxygen and carbon?
The universal solvent “water” can theoretically be replaced with sulfuric acid, ammonia, hydrogen fluoride and hydrogen cyanide. The main thing is that the solvent should remain liquid in a large temperature range. Water, as we all know, remains liquid in the range from 0 ° C to 100 ° C (at a pressure of 1 atm). But sulfuric acid, for example, is up to 200 ° C or more. Ammonia would be useful as a solvent on cold planets, since it is in a liquid state at temperatures from -78 to -33 ° C. However, when freezing, solid ammonia does not float upward like water, but drowns (all the rivers, lakes, and the coastal parts of the seas and oceans would become uninhabited with this behavior of water ice).
Oxygen atoms can be replaced by sulfur atoms. With such a substitution, there may exist “sulfur organisms” that could exist at a higher temperature on land or in the ocean from oleum (anhydrous sulfuric acid). Such conditions exist on Venus. There’s practically an oxygen-free atmosphere: 95% carbon dioxide + 5% nitrogen. The surface is 460 degrees Celsius.
And nevertheless, the doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, professor, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, member of the Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences on astrobiology Leonid Ksanfomaliti in earnest speaks about the possibility of life on Venus:
“It’s almost impossible to imagine life in an environment close to red-hot, almost impossible, and yet, with the help of the Soviet apparatus Venera-9, Venera-10, Venera-13 and Venera- 14 “we could see both the flora and the fauna of Venus, but the pictures are very bad, and to make sure of the existence of living beings, new research is needed.”
On what can be replaced carbon? Among the most likely candidates are silicon. Of course, silicon compounds can not be as diverse as carbon compounds. But the cream