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Name: LRB
Status: other
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001


Question:
We all know that Carbon-based life exists. Why are so many people talking about Silicon-based life? Why not Germanium or Lead-based life? Lead and Germanium are in the same column as carbon and silicon and may therefore have similar properties.


Replies:
LRB -

Carbon is an important element in living organisms because of the electron structure of its outer ring. If you study the theory of molecule formation, it becomes apparent that carbon has the potential for combining with many other elements and in a variety of ways... e.g., carbon with one oxygen or with two oxygen... CO or CO2.

Because silicon is in the same family on the periodic table, it has similar characteristics (though it has a larger mass). This combined with the fact that a large amount of silicon is found in the parts of the universe we have sampled leads some to consider the possibility that life may have evolved based on silicon in other locations. Remember the sand people in Star Wars? That was the science part of science fiction.

LEK



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