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What is Water?


Galindo
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Just an open discussion. I mean we take it for granted, and it's obviously important to us if we are 70% water. So you can think of us as containers of water that can walk and talk. But what is it and why is it so important?

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Discussion about what, Galindo? There's no discussion to be made.. water is H2O. Where's the discussion?

 

Water will not change its nature because of opinion; the discussion is moot.

 

Yes, we all know it is H2O, but why is that combination so special that it produces life. Why aren't we made up of something else? Humans are roughly 70% water and so is the Earth. We are living, so is the Earth living too?

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Yes, we all know it is H2O, but why is that combination so special that it produces life. Why aren't we made up of something else? Humans are roughly 70% water and so is the Earth. We are living, so is the Earth living too?

It's not producing life, amino acids are the basics of life.

And seeing as the Earth has an abundance of water, it's little wonder the life it produced has an abundance of water, too. If life evolved anywhere else in the universe in an environment of, say, methane, it would likely not require water but methane.

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I think the fact that water is liquid is a good sign of showing improbability within the universe. If it the water were in space, it's be frozen. However, there had to be a sun and heat for that stuff to stay as a liquid.

 

Water is not only a vital substance for living, but it is a vital substance to show that life is possible and can occur.

 

Water allows various chains of molecules to be cut, which is one reason it is important in biological systems.

It also acts as a system to transport molecules. If it were ice, nothing would really get transported.

 

I'm not sure where you are getting this methane idea from, mooeypoo. It sounds like a bunch of methyl radicals would be dangerous to a biological organism.

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Water is not only a vital substance for living, but it is a vital substance to show that life is possible and can occur.

It's vital substance for life on earth. There's no requirement for it to be vital for life anywhere else in the universe.

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Food in terms of us is also life. What's the meaning of food? It can also be sustenance to us and poison to a lot of other organisms. We happily share our bodies with a variety of bacteria that helps us digest stuff; when you don't have them, you get serious digestion problems -- are bacteria the meaning of life?

 

 

 

 

Galindo, I'm not quite understanding the purpose of this debate. Maybe you need to narrow your question down a bit more.

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So water in terms for us is life. Without it we'd die. But it could be poisonous to something else?

 

Yes, for instance to any life forms on Titan water would be the same as molten lava is to life on earth. Earth life developed in water because the temps favored water being present over other possible solvents. See the following link for alternate life forms

 

http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/A/alternative_forms_of_life.html

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We drink it, we are made up of it....but what is water?

 

Please share your ideas and opinions.

 

Water is indeed special. It's a very light molecule with rather special properties.

 

But there is little point in discussing it. We're not going to find anything new... and all the experts here are way too lazy to make a list of all the special properties of water...

 

Water is arguably the most researched chemical substance on earth... so I suggest you just search around and become a physics/chemistry/biology water-expert.

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It's vital substance for life on earth. There's no requirement for it to be vital for life anywhere else in the universe.

 

This is a very interesting note.

 

So far, water seems vital to life as we know it here on Earth. This is why we expect water to be fundamental in life elsewhere. This is why most ET hunters get excited when water is found on other planets or moons.

 

However, as mooeypoo states maybe life can evolve without water. Then we have a question of if we would recognise such life? :confused:

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This is a very interesting note.

 

So far, water seems vital to life as we know it here on Earth. This is why we expect water to be fundamental in life elsewhere. This is why most ET hunters get excited when water is found on other planets or moons.

 

However, as mooeypoo states maybe life can evolve without water. Then we have a question of if we would recognise such life? :confused:

Actually, ajb, the reason researchers are excited when water is found is not quite because of it being a "requirement" for life, but rather because finding water usually means having the right (and unique) range of temperatures that might allow for the chemical reactions that support life.

 

The temperatures in space are usually extreme, so water isn't found in its liquid form - it's either ice or vapor. When water's found (the liquid), the implication is that there might be an atmosphere guarding the surface of the planet and distributing the heat, etc.

 

It's true that our definition of life stems out of what we KNOW, and we narrow our search down by looking at what might be similar to what we already know, but in the case of water, it's more about the temperature (and in the case of the moon, the prospect of living there).

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Actually, ajb, the reason researchers are excited when water is found is not quite because of it being a "requirement" for life, but rather because finding water usually means having the right (and unique) range of temperatures that might allow for the chemical reactions that support life.

 

To me, based on my small knowledge of biology and chemistry the two seem tightly tied. But your point is noted. Either way, liquid water seems to be the astrobiologist's best friend ;)

 

 

Looking for water, the right chemicals, pressure, temperature etc using the Earth as a "normal", seems to be just about the only thing we can do. I mean without an accepted wider notion (definition?) of life I can see what else to do.

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It seems quite plausible that something which satisfies the currently accepted definitions of life will be created artificially within the next few decades. In other words, a "robot" that exhibits some form of homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction. This would be "alive," though not necessarily using water. (Most computers are happier without any water at all!)

 

Of course, that might not be useful to astrobiologists, since such things would be "intelligently designed" rather than evolved all the way from abiogenesis (and the designers would be native water-worlders). They'd need a plausible hypothesis for non-water abiogenesis to know what else to look for.

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Of course, that might not be useful to astrobiologists...

 

Fascinating idea that there could be robotic societies out there. My avatar run into a good example back the Movellans.

 

They'd need a plausible hypothesis for non-water abiogenesis to know what else to look for.

 

Has anything been proposed? As far as I know, life on Earth and liquid water seem inseparable.

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