What biosolvents could, in theory, permit the emergence of life on other worlds? I have been recently looking through possible biosolvents and I have found a good number, but I am specifically looking for more esoteric or less common solvents or thalassogens. Something like Liquid Iron Pentacarbonyl or Molten Sodium Chloride. These two have been discussed here, but I am mostly looking for solvents that have not really been proposed in a published work or explored very well. I am just looking for a brief description of why the fluid might act as a good solvent for life and what element or compound could serve as the backbone, would it be carbon-based life? Tungsten-Chloride-based life? I just want it to be at least theoretically possible (it doesn't have to be plausible) at least so my story has scientific grounding. I am mostly looking for brand new solvent possibilities that even have not been proposed here, but I would be happy to learn more about solvents that are somewhat known like hydrogen cyanide. I am just asking for a simple list with brief explanations or overviews.

  • $\begingroup$ "I am just asking for a simple list with brief explanations or overviews." That isn't true. We have 35 questions that touch on your issue and you want something more, something new. That's anything but simple. Does "I want an answer not already listed on Stack Exchange" justify creating a new question? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 18, 2021 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ When I said simple list, I was talking about the list being brief, I wasn't talking about the content. If this was easy I would have done it. Also, I didn't say I wanted an answer not already on stack exchange. It says "solvent possibilities that EVEN have not been proposed here." This place has a large variety of answers, I was enunciating the desire for a very new proposal. The word 'even' is the enuciation. You took my question out of context. I do feel the need to enunciate that point because I don't want to run into the problem of getting solvents I already know about. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2021 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ I have explored every solvent question on this website. I am sure I have covered all 35. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2021 at 6:32

1 Answer 1


The National Academy of Science has a report "The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems" and they discuss water as a solvent, but then also go on to consider several other potential solvents and mediums for life. They have a fairly extensive list that they divide into three groups solvents into three groups: polar solvents that are not water, nonpolar solvents, and cryosolvents. They have short discussions on

Polar solvents: Ammonia, Sulfuric Acid, Formamide (HCONH2)

Nonpolar Solvents: Mainly hydrocarbons - methane, ethane, propane, butane, and so on

Cryosolvents: dihydrogen, dinitrogen, and supercritical CO2


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