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Old 05-17-2014, 02:04 PM   #31
Flyndaran
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
There are lots and lots of plants here on Earth that will kill you, quickly or slowly, if you eat them. In fact there are plants that have evolved chemical compositions specifically to make them toxic to plant-eaters; it's a common passive defense strategy.

Bill Stoddard
And humans are pretty darn omnivorous as complex species go. Look at all the things we love that would kill dogs, or cats.
But there is a difference between most things are inedible, and absolutely everything on the planet is.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:06 PM   #32
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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If not on Europa, the original Star Trek series may have had it right with silicon-based life in an anoxic environment.
There are plenty of life forms in anaerobic, and anoxic environments on earth. No need to invoke the less likely silicon or silicone trope.
Carbon is just too darn amazing to be outcompeted in any realistic planet I can imagine. Not to say my imagination is limitless, of course.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:08 PM   #33
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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...
What doomed Venus was the lack of a carbon cycle more than anything. On Earth, plate tectonics ensure that carbon is cycled through the mantle regardless of life, while Venus only experiences any sort of recycling in massive events every few hundred million years. Accelerate Venus' rotation enough to weaken the crust, and it may actually be habitable.
I don't think we know enough about early earth to definitively say how Venus went wrong in comparison.
Also there is plenty of carbon in the atmosphere, so I don't see how a lack of recycling means much.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:08 PM   #34
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
There are plenty of life forms in anaerobic, and anoxic environments on earth. No need to invoke the less likely silicon or silicone trope.
Carbon is just too darn amazing to be outcompeted in any realistic planet I can imagine. Not to say my imagination is limitless, of course.
Well, silicon works pretty damn well on any planet where photosynthesis never kicks in. Kinda crap once oxygen becomes a thing, though.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:11 PM   #35
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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I don't think we know enough about early earth to definitively say how Venus went wrong in comparison.
Also there is plenty of carbon in the atmosphere, so I don't see how a lack of recycling means much.
The difference being trillions of tons of carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gasses being recycled every year. I doubt it's a coincidence that the only planet in the Solar System with plate techtonics is also the only one with life.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:12 PM   #36
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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Breathable to us? No. For anoxic life? It was perfect!
I've been playing with creating an alien anaerobic methanogenic PC species. Oxygen is powerful stuff, but looking around extant life, I found ways to increase their efficiency to just barely equal ectothermic animal life.
A very hot bright planet and daytime photosynthesis makes them quite competitive.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:15 PM   #37
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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The difference being trillions of tons of carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gasses being recycled every year. I doubt it's a coincidence that the only planet in the Solar System with plate techtonics is also the only one with life.
Too small of a sample size. For life to adapt it must first exist. We don't know the environment necessary for abiogenesis. Maybe life can adapt to nearly anything, but it's generation is absurdly picky.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:16 PM   #38
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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Well, silicon works pretty damn well on any planet where photosynthesis never kicks in. Kinda crap once oxygen becomes a thing, though.
Not quite as many forms of complex molecules and a bit too "sticky" at reasonable temperatures, as well not found in gas or water soluble forms. Hard to imagine a life form that "breathes" high entropy quartz sand.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:20 PM   #39
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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One solution to this is to simply decide that there's an unknown mechanism by which certain patterns of evolution repeat themselves.

e.g. on every planet, some strands of the original extremophile bacteria (that have seeded so many planets) tend to evolve into photosynthetic plant life--whenever that happens, animals evolve to take advantage of the oxygen surplus and the potential food source represented by the autotrophs.

...
Except that oxygenic photosynthesis is not the only kind by a long shot. It also created one of the worst global extinction events in earth's history. It's like turning modern oceans into bleach with how reactive O2 is compared to the early atmosphere of N2 and CO2.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:20 PM   #40
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Default Re: [Space] Panspermia and the Campgaign

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Too small of a sample size. For life to adapt it must first exist. We don't know the environment necessary for abiogenesis. Maybe life can adapt to nearly anything, but it's generation is absurdly picky.
Since science has managed to produce biologic reactious outside of cells and produce an artificial eukaryote, it's really not hard to imagine life getting a start on Mars and Venus. Mars just couldn't hold onto an atmosphere, and Venus periodically recycles its entire crust, which pretty much ruins the chance of any surface life, even if it could adapt to the surface temperatures and pressures. Although, there is still the chance of life in the clouds...
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