Must Life be Carbon-Based?
Could life exist in the universe without carbon? Marnie Chesterton explores the real science behind non-carbon biochemistries existing in the universe.
Carbon is special, but is it necessarily the unique building block of life in the universe? Science fiction has long speculated on non-carbon biochemistries existing in the universe – notably in the work of authors such as Isaac Asimov as well as in the popular American TV series Star Trek, which once featured a rock-munching, silicon-based life form called ‘Horta’.
Marnie Chesterton explores the real science behind this intriguing idea and wonders whether in the current search for Earth-like planets elsewhere in the galaxy, we should be looking at completely different possible sets of rules when it comes to the hunt for life?
Producer Alex Mansfield
Presenter Marnie Chesterton
(Photo: Saturn viewed from Titan moon. Credit: Getty Images)