“The Biological Cosmos”–Complex Carbon Molecules Form Spontaneously in Space

Orion Interstellar Medium


What is so special about carbon is that it’s doubtful (although possible) that life could have used something other than carbon. Each carbon atom can form four strong bonds that allow for an extraordinary variety of long-chain molecules, notably proteins, lipids, sugars and DNA, according to evolutionary biologist, Anthony Lane in The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origin of Complex Life. Silicon, for example, can’t manage anything  close to this complexity.