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Alien life could thrive on exotic elements

November 18, 2014 | Comment icon 8 comments

Could life forms based on supercritical carbon dioxide have once lived on Venus ? Image Credit: NASA
Researchers believe that alien life forms may be able to survive on 'supercritical' carbon dioxide.
The discovery of extremophiles, organisms that live in some of the most extreme and inhospitable conditions on Earth, has opened up the doors to the possibility that extraterrestrial life doesn't necessarily need the conditions that we do in order to survive.

Now scientists have taken this approach one step further by investigating whether it may be possible for life forms to thrive on an exotic form of carbon dioxide that exhibits properties consistent with both liquids and gases.
Supercritical carbon dioxide is essentially carbon dioxide that has reached a supercritical state due to a certain combination of pressure and temperature. While regular carbon dioxide is generally considered an inviable solvent to host the chemical reactions for life, in its supercritical state it becomes far more hospitable to the point where enzymes can be even more stable than in water.

"I always have been interested in possibly exotic life and creative adaptations of organisms to extreme environments," said study co-author Dirk Schulze-Makuch. "Supercritical CO2 is often overlooked, so I felt that someone had to put together something on its biological potential."

Source: | Comments (8)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Why not?! This theory is as good as any other and would explain why the Aliens haven't landed yet. We still don't have enough carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
Comment icon #2 Posted by DemonicCupcake 7 years ago
Assuming that other life forms are that akin to us anyways is close minded. We barely know what kind of other elements could possibly exist outside of earth/our solar system, and what compounds they can form. As much as we know, in retrospect, we still know virtually nothing.
Comment icon #3 Posted by shrooma 7 years ago
Why not?! This theory is as good as any other and would explain why the Aliens haven't landed yet. We still don't have enough carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. . but boy, are we working on that! .
Comment icon #4 Posted by bigjonalien 7 years ago
are we talking about making beer?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Zero Fox FK 7 years ago
Why is this news? They 'could' thrive on Exotic Elements... Yeah of course they could. They could also thrive on Tea Bags. We don't know.
Comment icon #6 Posted by gatekeeper32 7 years ago
Sounds like a grab for some grant money
Comment icon #7 Posted by Starhunter 7 years ago
On earth we have many examples of life living in conditions we can't. But it does not necessarily mean that it is toxic to us. We can't breathe under water, but we can visit that world. As far as other planets is concerned, I am certain from what I have read that human beings were designed to be able to visit any world without harm or conflict.
Comment icon #8 Posted by ovakynd 7 years ago
not to hard to conceive a theory like this sure we are not the only form of life in the whole universe .

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