Can we invite aliens to dinner

  Humans have always been very interested in extraterrestrial life. News of UFOs, such as flying saucers, is fascinating because it could be evidence of alien visits to Earth. If their existence can be confirmed, contact between humans and aliens could be possible. The impact of this on human society will be extremely huge – at least, the extraterrestrial creatures that can visit the earth must have a higher level of science and technology than humans.
  In addition to passively waiting, humans also actively detect extraterrestrial radio signals. For example, the “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Project” uses powerful radio telescopes to search for thousands of sun-like stars within 200 light-years of the earth, hoping to find radio signals from life from the planets orbiting them.
  While searching for alien intelligent life, humans are also looking for signs of life, even the most primitive ones, on the planets in our solar system, or on the moons of planets.
  Mars once had a lot of liquid water, and had rivers and oceans: the inclination of its axis of rotation (25.2°) is very similar to that of Earth (23.5°), and like Earth, it has four seasons. Therefore, scientists have judged that Mars once had the conditions for life to appear. Some people even believe that life on Earth came from Mars. When Mars was hit by a meteorite, there may be some rocks flying into space with the creatures on it, and some of them will land. On Earth. An important purpose of human exploration of Mars is to search for microorganisms. Under the ice layer on the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, there may be a huge ocean of liquid water, which is also an important target for human detection of extraterrestrial life.
  If alien life is really discovered, and aliens visit Earth on a peaceful mission, we will most likely welcome these visitors. As enthusiastic hosts, we naturally think of an important question – what will the guests eat? It stands to reason that we certainly want to invite aliens to experience the colorful delicacies on the earth, but the question is, can aliens eat the food of the earth?
  First of all, if you think about our food carefully, you will see that what can be called human food comes from other living things. Moreover, on earth, there is an infinite number of creatures that humans can eat. There are organisms that humans can eat in almost all phyla: from single-celled bacteria (such as bifidobacteria in yogurt, lactic acid bacteria in pickles), fungi (such as yeast, mushrooms, fungus), to plants of all phyla, including Lower algae (such as kelp, seaweed), ferns (such as hair fern, vegetable fern, water fern), gymnosperms (such as pine nuts, ginkgo), angiosperms (including various vegetables, fruits, seeds, rhizomes, even flowers), to almost all phyla, including coelenterates (e.g. jellyfish), mollusks (e.g. snails, mussels), crustaceans (e.g. shrimp, crabs), insects (e.g. silkworm chrysalis), to vertebrates, including fish Classes, amphibians (such as frogs), reptiles (such as turtles), mammals (such as cattle, sheep, pigs), poultry (such as chickens, ducks, geese). It can be said that there are almost no types of creatures on the earth that humans cannot eat.
  All living things on Earth today have evolved from the same ancestor, so they are all relatives, near and far. When life was first born on earth, there may have been other forms of life with different mechanisms, but then one of them won the competition of survival and evolution, and finally became the common ancestor of all living things on the earth today.
  Although life on Earth may look very different, the basic mechanisms of life are exactly the same. Life on Earth is very “monotonous” in a molecular sense. This is why humans are always looking for life forms that are different from ours, even those that exist in this solar system.
  Since all life on Earth evolved from a common ancestor, they all share the same basic structural units. For example, all cellular organisms use the same 4 nucleotides to make up their genetic material (DNA), all have proteins made up of 20 amino acids that play a key role in life activities, and all have a similar composition of cell membranes (phospholipids). , both use carbohydrates (glucose, starch, etc.) and fat as energy and energy storage substances.
  That is to say, on the earth, from the simplest creatures to the most complex creatures, the “building materials” used are the same, or the basic “parts” are the same, so they can be used universally. Just as an infinite variety of structures can be built with a limited number of building blocks, tens of millions of creatures on earth can also be formed from a limited variety of “biological building blocks”. The so-called eating is to “disassemble” the “parts” or “building blocks” of other creatures to build our own body.
  This “demolition” means that food is digested in our gastrointestinal tract. For example, proteins are broken down into amino acids, starches are hydrolyzed into glucose, and fats are digested into glycerol and fatty acids. These amino acids, glucose and fatty acids are the three basic “building blocks” or “parts”. Along with other small molecules such as glycerol, they are absorbed by the digestive system and used to build our own bodies.
  In this sense, any creature on the earth can in principle “eat” any other creature on the planet to survive, as long as it is practically possible, as long as the toxic substances in the food can be removed. So, animals can eat plants (herbivores) and other animals (carnivores); plants can also eat plants (such as dodder) and even animals (such as Venus flytrap); bacteria, fungi and molds “eat” “Dead animals and plants, but also “eat” living organisms, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm are fungi “eat” living people, tuberculosis, infection suppuration and septicemia are bacteria “eat” living people, even viruses , all use the “parts” in our body cells to build new viruses.
  There is a deeper meaning to the identity of life on Earth, which is that all life is based on carbon. That is to say, the biological macromolecules on earth are all carbon-based.
  Of the more than 100 elements currently found in this universe, only carbon atoms are the most connected to each other, forming long chains and ring structures that are the basis of biological macromolecules. Various functional groups can also be attached to the carbon skeleton to form complex compounds. Just look at coal and oil, and you can actually feel the fact that life on Earth is based on carbon. Coal and oil are the carbon skeletons left by the organisms on the earth that were buried underground and decomposed by high temperature and high pressure.
  But carbon-based life doesn’t necessarily have to follow the pattern of life on Earth today. For example, genetic material is not necessarily DNA or RNA, and the molecules (enzymes) that perform catalytic functions are not necessarily proteins. Such creatures and creatures on the earth cannot be used in common with each other due to the different “parts”, and they cannot be food for each other. Even if their “parts” are organic, burning produces heat, but our bodies don’t have the enzymes they can use. To dine with such a creature, both parties must bring their own food.
  An element similar to carbon atoms is silicon. It belongs to the same group as carbon in the periodic table, and can form a three-dimensional four-bond structure like carbon atoms, and can be connected to each other to form long chains and branched chains, and combined with hydrogen atoms to form silanes. Therefore, some people speculate that some alien life may be based on silicon.
  If so, the composition of these alien life is completely different from that on Earth. Not only are the “parts” not interchangeable, but water cannot be used as a medium for chemical reactions because the hydrogen compound of silicon is easily hydrolyzed in water; instead, water can be a poison to the creature. For these alien guests, don’t say please eat, just drink water.
  To go further, if there are other universes with elements that are not the same as the elements in our universe, then the “life” produced in that universe will definitely be different from the creatures in our universe, and will completely exceed ours. imagine.

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