Imagine you are an exploratory astronaut looking for life throughout the universe. One day you encounter a planet that has no carbon present on its surface. However, your instruments register movement and a variety of other signs that make you think life exists on the surface.
- Part 1: Before taking a potentially dangerous trip to the surface, you must outline a theoretical framework in which another element can serve as a backbone for macromolecules. (Hint: look for an element on the periodic table that would act similarly to carbon.) Begin by describing this new backbone, including how compounds and macromolecules would form. Detail at least 2 chemical reactions forming macromolecules with this backbone. You may wish add supporting diagrams (created or obtained). Be sure to include references as appropriate.
- Part 2: Your theoretical framework is deemed strong enough to justify a trip landside. Once there, you are authorized to collect a simple “organism” for experimental use. Collect your specimen(s) and then design a full experiment that will test at least two characteristics that define biological life on Earth. Be sure to include all the relevant parts of an experiment and describe how you would analyze and present the data, results and conclusions.