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Extraterrestrial Life: Not Carbon-Based Like Us?

Could extraterrestrial life be made of corkscrew-shaped particles of interstellar dust? Astronomers have discovered intriguing new evidence of life-like structures that form from inorganic substances in space that could be the basis of ANOTHER life form.

An international team of astronomers thinks that extraterrestrial life forms may exist inside particles of interstellar dust. If life exists there, it would be a different FORM of life from the kind found on earth, which is all carbon-based. Under the right conditions, particles of inorganic dust can become organized into structures that can then interact with each other in ways that only the organic compounds we are familiar with usually do.

For instance, they can divide to form two copies of themselves, and these new structures can also interact with each other to cause changes in their neighbors. They also show signs of evolution, as the weaker structures break down, leaving the stronger ones to carry on and continue to reproduce. Could they be alive? The Science Daily website quotes V.N. Tsytovich as saying, "These complex, self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter. They are autonomous, they reproduce and they evolve."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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