Why Water Is Crucial for Life

Why is it that astrobiologists consider water a prerequisite when seeking out alien life? Steve Nerlich of Universe Today details what alien biochemistry would look like.

The assumption that alien biochemistries probably require liquid water may seem a little Earth-centric. But given the chemical possibilities available from the most abundant elements in the universe, even an alien scientist with a different biochemistry would probably agree that a water-solvent-based biochemistry is quite likely to occur elsewhere in the universe – and might well be the most likely foundation for a complex ecosystem in which intelligent life could develop. Based on what we know of life and biochemistry, it seems likely that an alien biochemistry will need a solvent (like water) and one or more elemental units for its structure and function (like carbon).

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