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Carbon-based life - life. Carbon is a primary component of all known life on Earth, representing approximately 45–50% of all dry biomass. Carbon compounds oc ..



                                     

Carbon-based life

Carbon is a primary component of all known life on Earth, representing approximately 45–50% of all dry biomass. Carbon compounds occur naturally in great abundance on Earth. Complex biological molecules almost always consist of carbon atoms bonded with other elements, especially oxygen and hydrogen and frequently also nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.

Because it is lightweight and relatively small in size, carbon molecules are easy for enzymes to manipulate. It is frequently assumed in astrobiology that if life exists elsewhere in the Universe, it will also be carbon-based. Critics refer to this assumption as carbon chauvinism.

                                     

1. Characteristics

Carbon is capable of forming a vast number of compounds, more than any other element, with almost ten million compounds described to date, and yet that number is but a fraction of the number of theoretically possible compounds under standard conditions. For this reason, carbon has often been referred to as the "king of the elements". The enormous diversity of carbon-containing compounds, known as organic compounds, has led to a distinction between them and compounds that do not contain carbon, known as inorganic compounds. The branch of chemistry that studies organic compounds is known as organic chemistry.

Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earths crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass, after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Carbons widespread abundance, its ability to form stable bonds with numerous other elements, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables it to serve as a common element of all known living organisms. In a 2018 study, carbon was found to compose approximately 550 billion tons of all life on Earth. It is the second most abundant element in the human body by mass about 18.5% after oxygen.

The most important characteristics of carbon as a basis for the chemistry of life are that each carbon atom is capable of forming up to four valence bonds with other atoms simultaneously, and that the energy required to make or break a bond with a carbon atom is at an appropriate level for building large and complex molecules which may be both stable and reactive. Carbon atoms bond readily to other carbon atoms; this allows the building of arbitrarily long macromolecules and polymers in a process known as catenation. "What we normally think of as life is based on chains of carbon atoms, with a few other atoms, such as nitrogen or phosphorus", per Stephen Hawking in a 2008 lecture, "carbon has the richest chemistry."

                                     

2. Key molecules

The most notable classes of biological macromolecules used in the fundamental processes of living organisms include:

  • Lipids, which also store energy, but in a more concentrated form, and which may be stored for extended periods in the bodies of animals
  • Nucleic acids, which carry genetic information
  • Proteins, which are the building blocks from which the structures of living organisms are constructed this includes almost all enzymes, which catalyse organic chemical reactions
  • Carbohydrates, which store energy in a form that can be used by living cells
                                     

3. Other candidates

There are not many other elements which appear to be promising candidates for supporting biological systems and processes as fundamentally as carbon does, for example, processes such as metabolism. The most frequently suggested alternative is silicon. Silicon shares a group in the periodic table with carbon, can also form four valence bonds, and also bonds to itself readily, though generally in the form of crystal lattices rather than long chains. Despite these similarities, silicon is considerably more electropositive than carbon, and silicon compounds do not readily recombine into different permutations in a manner that would plausibly support lifelike processes.

                                     

4. Fiction

Speculations about the chemical structure and properties of hypothetical non-carbon-based life have been a recurring theme in science fiction. Silicon is often used as a substitute for carbon in fictional lifeforms because of its chemical similarities. In cinematic and literary science fiction, when man-made machines cross from non-living to living, this new form is often presented as an example of non-carbon-based life. Since the advent of the microprocessor in the late 1960s, such machines are often classed as "silicon-based life". Other examples of fictional "silicon-based life" can be seen in the episode "The Devil in the Dark" from Star Trek: The Original Series, in which a living rock creatures biochemistry is based on silicon, and in The X-Files episode "Firewalker", in which a silicon-based organism is discovered in a volcano.

In the film adaptation of Arthur C. Clarkes "2010" 1984, a character argues, "Whether we are based on carbon or on silicon makes no fundamental difference; we should each be treated with appropriate respect." This quote may be the basis of Steve Jobs quip when he introduced Carbon within Mac OS X, "Carbon. All life forms will be based on it."

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9 Sep 2016 If Earths initial allotment of carbon boiled away into space or got stuck in geological question: How did carbon based life develop on Earth,. Carbon as a building block of life video Khan Academy. 2 Apr 2015 Growing up, I would hear science fiction people talking about creatures with bodies as carbon based life forms. Not being good at chemistry. Carbon based life pedia. Currently, Earth is the only planet that we have found life on. Scientists study the characteristics of Earth that allow for carbon based life and look for other planets. Why Silicon based Aliens Would Rather Eat our Cities than Us. Silicon based life Carbon and hydrocarbons Representing structures of organic. Life in the Universe WMAP. Humans, for example, were carbon based. The Starfleet Academy course Exobiology 101 taught several basics on carbon based life, such as that the Human.


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Carbonic anhydrase a universal enzyme of the carbon based life.

Now, scientists have for the first time shown that nature can evolve to incorporate silicon into carbon based molecules, the building blocks of life on Earth. The Search for Life on Other Planets: Sulfur Based, Silicon Based. 6 Feb 2015 Every part of your body is made up of chains of carbon atoms, which is why we are known as carbon based life forms. Chemically, were just a. I am a spirit based life form in a carbon based vessel Medium. Yes, a human body has about 3 times more mass due to oxygen atoms, than carbon atoms. Though you could also argue we are hydrogen. Finding Life Beyond Carbon? Inside NOVA PBS. 1 Mar 2018 A team of researchers forced bacteria to create carbon silicon bonds, and their experiment showcases why life on our planet chose carbon.





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20 Feb 2018 Janusz Petkowski, a postdoc in the field of astrobiology, is working with Sara Seager and William Bains to develop an ASM All Small. Viability of carbon based life as a function of the light quark mass. And to the best of our knowledge, life is a carbon based phenomenon and its emergence from other elements remains the remit of science fiction. Carbon based curiosities Nature Chemistry. 13 Oct 2016 i am a spirit based life form in a carbon based vessel is published by Andre Yeampierre.


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13 Mar 2013 Life as we know it is based upon the elements of carbon and oxygen. Now a team of physicists, including one from North Carolina State. BGC Cycles: Carbon Cycle Geography4google - wiki.info. 14 Apr 2014 Life forms like the Water Bears have proven that non carbon based life forms can survive in conditions that humans could not. For example. Why Do We Assume Life Is Carbon Based and Could There Be Life. 7 Jun 2019 On a planet with carbon based life and life using carbons closest competitor, silicon, as a base, the carbon based chemical reactions would be.





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