Astronomers religiously proclaim the mantra: "Water is neccessary for life.", when remarking about the possibility of finding life on other planets.
Opinions on this?
To me, it is a reasonable conjecture regarding life on our own planet, but becomes rather less so when considering other planets, the moreso the farther we look from our own home here.
Indeed, it probably is neccessary for our own EARTH-based ecosystem/biosphere, but it seems highly presumptive to apply this theory to ALL planetary bodies. If we continue to follow the 'water' mantra, isn't it likely that we will wind up looking for TERRAN (Earth) life forms on OTHER worlds? This seems inherently foolish; granted, terran life forms should be fairly recognisable, but what if off-earth life forms don't conform to our pre-supposed patterns? Will we even recognize it? Will we even look in the right places?
If the 'water' mantra maintains its hold on astronomers, I fear we will not recognise off-Earth life when we encounter it; the implications are enormous.
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