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Shush! Don’t tell SETI: Lack of phosphorus makes alien life doubtful


From Allan Adamson at Tech Times:

Astronomers have been hunting for phosphorus in the universe because of the role it plays in life on Earth. If the element is lacking in other parts of the cosmos, it could be difficult for alien life to exist.

A new study presented at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science meeting now suggests that life as we know it is more unusual than previously thought because the universe substantially lacks phosphorus. More.

But then who needs phosphorus when we have imagination?!

nonlin.org @ 5: "Yes, anything is possible to God. But if you deny God, you should stick with the known laws of physics and biology. And under these laws, phosphorus is mandatory." Well said. I wish more a/mats would get this point. Going beyond known laws is speculation... not science. Truth Will Set You Free
Carbon is required as it is the only molecule from which to construct the macromolecules required for living organisms. Silicon is interesting but any silicon based robots would be traced back to their carbon based creators. ET
To nonlin at 5: I see. Thanks for explaining, nonlin. And to ET at 6: yes, that would be possible also. But my question is whether it would be possible for there to be, irrespective of how it came to be, a foundation for life, analogous to DNA and to other basic biochemical processes, with other chemicals instead of phosphorous? I don't think anyone here can actually answer that question. I just think it's useful to consider the possibility that life elsewhere in the universe might not be, or need to be, constructed with the exact same chemical compositions as life as we know it here on earth. jdk
So the Intelligent Designer for life on Earth could not have scoured space for phosphorous to produce life on other planets? ET
Earth just happened to be in close proximity to the right kind of supernova, making it unusually lucky.
So much for science... ET
jdk@3 That was in response to: "But then who needs phosphorus when we have imagination?!" , not to your question. To your question: Yes, anything is possible to God. But if you deny God, you should stick with the known laws of physics and biology. And under these laws, phosphorus is mandatory. Nonlin.org
One way to state my question is this: could the same designer who designed DNA on Earth design a similar product in different environments in the universe that was not dependent on phosphorus? Is there any reason to believe that would not be possible? jdk
Hmmm. I don't think the response at 2 has anything to do with my comment at all????? jdk
Don't you know? The magical powers of "natural selection" take care of that: http://nonlin.org/natural-selection/ Nonlin.org
Irrespective of any thoughts I might have about the search for alien life, my first thought was whether other analogs to DNA without phosphorus might be possible. I don't know anywhere close to enough biochemistry to know whether that is even a reason question to ask or not, though. jdk

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