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Carbon-based chemistry isn't the worst requirement to throw in there, since the only plausible analogue - silicon - for example doesn't form stable analogues of the usual amino acids at room-temperature.

Now it would be reasonable to say "well what about extreme environments" but we are specifically looking for planets with temperatures and "ambient energies" similar to ours - so it's reasonable to think that whatever chemistry is there probably has to follow Earth to a large degree.

If instead we were talking about high-pressure hot Jupiters or something, then it gets more interesting - but that's going to be something so different we're unlikely to recognize it at all (what consciousness does sentient life which evolved in a gas-environment have?)

Well carbon based compounds are significantly more stable when they grow in size than any other atom.

That bond stability had to play a gigantic role over the last billion years of evolution.

Exactly. We think of things recognisable to us, in scale and environment, but as the article pointed out before it got too fanciful, it seems far more likely we'll find actual life by looking outside these constraints.

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