Your submission is now a Draft.

Once it's ready, please submit your draft for review by our team of Community Moderators. Thank you!

You have been invited to co-author this question.

When it is ready, the author will submit it for review by Community Moderators. Thanks for helping!


This question now needs to be reviewed by Community Moderators.

We have high standards for question quality. We also favor questions on our core topic areas or that we otherwise judge valuable. We may not publish questions that are not a good fit.

If your question has not received attention within a week, or is otherwise pressing, you may request review by tagging @moderators in a comment.

You have been invited to co-author this question.

It now needs to be approved by Community Moderators. Thanks for helping!


{{qctrl.question.predictionCount() | abbrNumber}} predictions
{{"myPredictionLabel" | translate}}:  
{{ qctrl.question.resolutionString() }}
{{qctrl.question.predictionCount() | abbrNumber}} predictions
My score: {{qctrl.question.player_log_score | logScorePrecision}}
Created by: Sylvain and
co-authors , {{coauthor.username}}

Make a Prediction


As of question writing, all known life is carbon-based, in the sense that it needs to contain carbon atoms to survive.

But life could take many forms:

  • Wikipedia has a handy list of hypothetical types of biochemistry, notably silicon biochemistry.
  • Life could be based on non-organic chemistry (e.g. inorganic chemistry, or nuclear chemistry in the degenerate crust on the surface of a neutron star*).
  • Life could also not be chemistry based at all. It could be electrical (e.g. Ems) or mechanical (e.g. clockwork).
  • Life could operate on vastly different time / space scales from us (e.g. a cloud of interstellar stuff somehow consistently implementing a sentient computation).

These examples are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and I obviously make no claim regarding their respective feasibility/likelihood. They are rather meant to suggest the vastness of design-space.