Alternative Time Scales for Life

People tend to believe that aliens and other life forms would be similar to life on Earth, in that it would have cells, need water, be carbon-based, etc. However, after reading about alternative biochemistry, it makes you wonder what else could be different for other life forms.

Life is simply a series of structures or patterns that continue to exist because they are self-replicating. This might sound cynical, but consider that species, through evolution, all have the “goal” of further propagating themselves. Species that no longer reproduce cease to exist.

So here’s the idea: What if there were forms of life, elsewhere in the universe, that lived in vastly different time scales? For example, most life on Earth “happens” at a certain speed, based on the rate of the specific chemical reactions that are taking place. But, if life relied on vastly different chemicals or occurred in different conditions, there would also be the possibility that the chemical processes for this life could happen at different rates. For example, on a planet with very low energy input, a different kind of life might accumulate energy more slowly, move more slowly, and live more slowly. Their lives might span thousands of years. Or, on the opposite extreme, life in high temperatures/pressures might have a life cycle of seconds. Just an interesting thought.