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Astrobiology: Water can be corrosive to life forms so what about alternatives?

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From Astrobiology:

Life on early Earth seems to have begun with a paradox: while life needs water as a solvent, the essential chemical backbones of early life-forming molecules fall apart in water. Our universal solvent, it turns out, can be extremely corrosive.

In recent years the solvent often put forward as the eligible alternative to water is formamide, a clear and moderately irritating liquid consisting of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Unlike water, it does not break down the long-chain molecules needed to form the nucleic acids and proteins that make up life’s key initial instruction manual, RNA. Meanwhile it also converts via other useful reactions into key compounds needed to make nucleic acids in the first place.

Harvard Earth scientist Zachary Adam has produced formamide by bombarding early earth chemicals with radioactive particles.

It remains unclear whether early Earth had enough radioactive material in the right places to produce the chemical reactions that led to the formation of formamide. And even if the conditions were right, scientists cannot yet conclude that formamide played an important role in the origin of life. More.

They have confidence in desperation alone.

See also: What we know and don’t know about the origin of life


What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?

This is just silly. If formamide was the basis of life, where did it go? Why did it voluntarily commit chemical suicide and allow water to replace it? polistra
"But Earth, and outer space, is FILLED with water." Outer space is pretty much a vacuum, and the Earth is largely made up of liquefied metal. You seem to be misinformed. timothya
But Earth, and outer space, is FILLED with water. What is the point of proposing life based on a very obscure chemical? Any life on Earth that originated in a small, randomly formed pool of formamide would then have to adapt to living in an OCEAN of dihydrogen oxide. Is there ANY evidence this adaptation would be SIMPLE? vmahuna

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