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Author Topic:   Why Doesn't the Moon Have Life?
Gary
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Message 13 of 97 (115227)
06-14-2004 11:51 PM


I'm not sure that Earth-like conditions are necessary for life. You would certainly need a solution with a diverse mix of chemicals, but there may be a number of different pathways to get to self-replicating molecules. Just because Earth happens to be warm, but not too warm, and its atmosphere is just so doesn't mean that this is the only place life could exist.

There may be life on Europa and other moons in the solar system, even though those moons are far from the sun because of heat generated by tidal forces between the moon in question, the planet it orbits around, and other moons. Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, is believed to have liquid water underneath its icy crust for this reason, and the movement of this water gives the crust its cracked appearance. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is smaller than Earth but has a thicker atmosphere, because it is colder. It may also have lakes or seas of liquid hydrocarbons, which may include liquid methane. Simple organic compounds such as methane may have the ability to work as a solvent like water at low temperatures, allowing for chemical reactions that could lead to simple life forms.

Other possible pathways for life besides the one used on Earth might include silicon based life forms, since silicon shares some of carbon's properties, and boron-nitrogen compounds, since these can behave in ways similar to carbon as well. I'm no expert, and I don't know for sure if these methods are feasible, but all I'm saying is that there may be more than one way to get life.

I believe that life will exist anywhere it can. Because even the simplest life form is self-replicating, it should reproduce itself until it runs out of space and resources. It may be hard to identify something as living or nonliving, for example, self replicating molecules may not be considered living unless they are bound by membranes. There is a continuum between living and non-living in which it is debatable whether or not something is alive.


  
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