BACKGROUND Various claims have been made for evidence of extraterrestrial life, such as tho se listed in a 2006 New

Scientist article , which the magazine describes as "hin ts" rather than proof.[1] A less direct argument for the existence of extraterre strial life relies on the vast size of the observable Universe. According to thi s argument, endorsed by scientists such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, it wo uld be improbable for life not to exist somewhere other than Earth and its space crafts . One possibility is that life has emerged independently at many places t hroughout the Universe. Another possibility is panspermia or exogenesis ,in whic h life would have spread between habitable planets. These two hypotheses are not necessarily mutually exclusive.Suggested locations at which life might have dev eloped, or which might continue to host life today, include the planets Venus[2] and Mars; moons of Jupiter, such as Europa[3] ; moons of Saturn , such as Titan and Enceladus ; and extrasolar planets, such as Gliese 581 c, g and d, recently discovered to be near Earth mass and apparently located in their star's habitab le zone, with the potential to have liquid water[4] . Beliefs that some unidenti fied flying objects are of extraterrestrial origin (see Extraterrestrial hypothe sis), along with claims of alien abduction, are considered spurious by most scie ntists. Most UFO sightings are explained either as sightings of Earth-based airc raft or known astronomical objects, or as hoaxes. POSSIBLE BASIS OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE Several theories have been proposed about the possible basis of alien life from a biochemical, evolutionary or morphological viewpoint . Alien life, such as bac teria, has been theorized by scientists such as Carl Sagan to exist in the Solar System and quite possibly throughout the Universe. No samples have been found, although there is some controversy about possible traces of life in Martian mate rial (see Life on Mars), of which the most famous are on the Allan Hills 84001 m eteorite. **Biochemistry All life on Earth requires carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and su lfur (CHNOPS) as well as numerous other elements in smaller amounts. Life also r equires water as the solvent in which biochemical reactions take place. Sufficie nt quantities of carbon and the other major life-forming elements, along with wa ter, may enable the formation of living organisms on other planets with a chemic al make-up and average temperature similar to that of Earth. Because Earth and o ther planets are made up of "stardust", i.e. relatively abundant chemical elemen ts formed from stars which have ended their lives as supernovae, it is very prob able that other planets may have been formed by elements of a similar compositio n to the Earth's. The combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the chemical form of carbohydrates (e.g. sugar) can be a source of chemical energy on which life depends, and can also provide structural elements for life (such as ribose, in the molecules DNA and RNA, and cellulose in plants). Plants derive energy th rough the conversion of light energy into chemical energy via photosynthesis. Li fe, as currently recognized, requires carbon in both reduced (methane derivative s) and partially-oxidized (carbon oxides) states. It also appears to require nit rogen as a reduced ammonia derivative in all proteins, sulfur as a derivative of hydrogen sulfide in some necessary proteins, and phosphorus oxidized to phospha tes in genetic material and in energy transfer. Adequate water as a solvent supp lies adequate oxygen as constituents of biochemical substances. Pure water is useful because it has a neutral pH due to its continued dissociati on between hydroxide and hydronium ions. As a result, it can dissolve both posit ive metallic ions and negative non-metallic ions with equal ability. Furthermore , the fact that organic molecules can be either hydrophobic (repelled by water) or hydrophilic (soluble in water) creates the ability of organic compounds to or ient themselves to form water-enclosing membranes. The fact that solid water (ic

S ilicon life forms are proposed to have a crystalline morphology. Suggestions have even been made that selfreplicating reactions of some sort could occur within the plasma of a star. all of whic h are thought to have evolved several times here on Earth. but also ATP (th e principal energy "currency" of cellular life). however.[6] Several pre-conceived ideas about the characteristics of life outside of Earth h ave been questioned.[7] **Evolution and Morphology In addition to the biochemical basis of extraterrestrial life. However. Intelligent aliens could communicate through gestures. A division has been suggested between universal and parochial (narrowly restrict ed) characteristics. which are essential to large terrest rial organisms according to the experts of the field of gravitational biology. The ability to form organic acids ( COOH) and amine bases ( NH2) gives rise to the p ossibility of neutralization dehydrating reactions to build long polymer peptide s and catalytic proteins from monomer amino acids. as deaf humans do. as well as four limbs i. T hese often have little inherent utility (or at least have a function which can b e equally served by dissimilar morphology) and probably will not be replicated. the oceans could have frozen solid during the Snowball Earth e pisodes. NASA scientists believe that the color of phot osynthesizing pigments on extrasolar planets might not be green. Parochials. such as felines and insects. Due to their relative abundance and usefulness in sustaining life. cooling the tropics and warming the poles. sight. though carbon-oxygen within the liquid temperature range of water seems most conducive. are not too difficul t to develop) and are so intrinsically useful that species will inevitably tend towards them. which upon condensation is released. such as glucose. the hydrogen bonds between water molecules give it an abi lity to store energy with evaporation. are essentially arbitrary evolutionary forms.[5] When looked at from a chemical perspective. Additionally. This helps to moderate the climate. Carbon is fundamental to terrestrial life for its immense flexibility in creatin g covalent chemical bonds with a variety of non-metallic elements. These include flight. Attempting to define parochial features challenges many taken-for-granted notion s about morphological necessity. Life forms based in ammonia (rather than water) have also be en suggested.e . many have hyp othesized that life forms elsewhere in the universe would also utilize these bas ic materials. a . though this solution appears less optimal than water. There is a huge varie ty of eyes. such as on planets which are very c lose to their star. Universals are features which are thought to have evolved i ndependently more than once on Earth (and thus. presumably. cicadas vibrate their wings. and with phosphates to build not only DNA (the information-storing molecule of inheritance). etc. Science fiction has often depicted extraterre strial life with humanoid and/or reptilian forms. photosynthesis and limbs. and many of these have radically different working sche matics and different visual foci: the visual spectrum. thereby preventing Earth's oceans from slowly freezing.e) is less dense than liquid water (within specific temperature ranges) also mea ns that ice floats. thou gh it would be highly unconventional. and are theoriz ed to be able to exist in high temperatures. polarity and ec holocation. or by sounds created from structures unrelated to breathing. hav e also occurred in fictional representations of aliens. which happens on Earth wh en. fundamentally humanoid. The oxidation of glucose releases biochemical energy needed to fuel all other biochemical reactions. for example. Carbon dioxide and water together enable the stora ge of solar energy in sugars. with a large head. For example.. With out this quality. Aliens have often been depicte d as having light green or grey skin. Other subjects. Silicon is most often deemed to be the probable alternative to carbon. oxygen and hydrogen. but one which could arise under a great many conditions and with various possible ingredients. many have also co nsidered evolution and morphology. for instance. other elements and solvents could also provide a basis fo r life. principally n itrogen. life is fundamentally a self-replica ting reaction. helpi ng to maintain the thermodynamic stability needed for life. or crickets rub their legs. infrared. Skeletons.

While many exobiologists do stress that the enormously heterogeneous nature of life on Earth foregrounds an even greater variety in outer space. These two schools of thought are called "divergion ism" and "convergionism" respectively. The assumpt ion of radical diversity amongst putative extraterrestrials is by no means settl ed.[6] .re almost assured to be replicated elsewhere in one form or another. others poin t out that convergent evolution may dictate substantial similarities between Ear th and extraterrestrial life.