There Might Be Life Forms Based on Something Other Than DNA in the Universe

NASA scientists have discovered there is possibly more than one life forming chemical in the universe.

Spitzer Space Telescope via wikimedia

Spitzer Space Telescope via wikimedia

Astronomers were using  the Spitzer space telescope while observing planet forming material swirling around various types of stars.

They were looking for a chemical found in every living organism on earth.

Hydrogen cyanide is a component of the basic element found in all DNA.

Cluster of Stars called Seven Sisters taken by Spitzer via Thomsonnet

Cluster of Stars called Seven Sisters taken by Spitzer via Thomsonnet

Scientists observed over 60 stars.

They were not able to find any traces of the basic DNA element  in  70% of the stars which were similar to our sun.

Also, they also did not find any traces of the element around the cooler and smaller stars similar to commonly found reddish-colored stars known as M-dwarfs (see below for definition).

Considering some recently discovered M-dwarf stars have been thought of as simply larger versions of Earths or “Super Earths,”scientists now find themselves questioning what type of life, if any, could these other earths sustain.

Of the 20 or so stars produced in the galaxy each year, 15 of them are dim M dwarfs. Image Credit: NASA via astrobio

Of the 20 or so stars produced in the galaxy each year, 15 of them are dim M dwarfs. Image Credit: NASA via astrobio

M-dwarf: “An M dwarf is the smallest kind of star there is. They have masses ranging from about 50 percent of the Sun’s mass down to about 8 percent of the Sun’s mass. That’s a huge range, as far as stars are concerned. Because, for example, the amount of light coming to our eyes, if we were on a planet going around an M dwarf, would vary from one end of the range to the other by a factor of about 10 thousand. So you have a lot of different environments around M dwarfs.” (astrobio)

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2 responses to “There Might Be Life Forms Based on Something Other Than DNA in the Universe

  1. If this telescope were to look at the earth, would it see hydrogen cyanide?

  2. Hey Sobe! thanks for checking out the site! That’s an amazing questions! really good one, and the answer is yes, it would detect hydrogen cyanide on earth! thank you so much for your support and please keep checking the site out!

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