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>It seems to me the greatest challenge to thinking about potential life outside this planet is being mentally bound to the constraints of life on this planet.

I always felt the same way about astronomers linking liquid water with life but then again where do you start if you don't use the only known instances of life in the universe as a template? Maybe it happens that there's a viable evolutionary path for sentient Nitrogen clouds but how would we know that?

Furthermore it doesn't sound too absurd that the very complex chemical constructs necessary for life would have a greater chance to stabilize in less extreme environments with a smaller temperature amplitude. Especially if you're looking for complex life and not merely microbes (which tend to be a lot more resilient).

The rationale is because carbon chemistry is the richest chemistry out there. Other elements are not nearly as flexible to sustain complex molecules while maintaining the possibility of reversability in chemical reactions. Thats actually a very sound argument.

I always thought that most likely place to have life in solar system (except for Earth) is Venus. Also hardest to discover for us.

Most likely because looking at extremophiles on Earth, you just need somewhat stable energy gradient and you'll find some life that draws energy from that gradient using weird chemistry.

Hardest to find for us because most of our chemistry research is geared towards carbon compounds around 20deg C, not sulfur compounds around 500deg C that dissolve most of our equipment in minutes.

liquid water acts is a catalyst for a large number of chemical reactions. life on earth is complex in a way that only carbon base molecules with liquid water can support. Maybe life can exist where average temperatures are 90C (but this in itself changes the possible chemical reactions)

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