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Aliens on low-oxygen worlds may never discover fire


A fantasy alien planet

Fires couldn’t be started on exoplanets that don’t have much oxygen

Shutterstock/ppl

Alien life living on a planet with low levels of oxygen might never be able to develop technology because combustion would be impossible. This bottleneck for advanced civilisations may also help explain why we have yet to observe life elsewhere in a near-infinite universe.

The development of technology on Earth hinged on fire, also known as combustion, a chemical reaction that uses oxygen to generate large amounts of heat.

Combustion is crucial for, among other things, extracting metals from ore, …



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