Life is a fundamental concept in this universe which happens to be teeming with it. The nature and definition of life have been debated over and speculated upon by the philosophers and scholars of all sophont species throughout spacetime. At the formation of the Unity and the first Second Rise interstellar coalition, solid universal definitions of life were enacted to discourage the potential for discrimination later on (though in the case of the Unity such social degradation occurred anyways).
Definition of LifeThe current definition of life under the Galactic Democratic Federation stands as an independent section in its Constitution of the Galactic Democratic Federation. Under this article, life is characterized by the following attributes:
- Inertia-independent reaction to stimulus, however slight and regardless of speed.
- The independent production/collection and storage of energy within the entity in question for biological use, including but not limited to: active biological molecular processes*, capacitor structures, nano-scale fission cells, nanoscale electrothermal turbines, etc.
- *Active biological molecular processes are defined as: the intake, internal reaction, and output of chemicals between the environment and the entity in question.
- The ability of the entity in question to consistently regulate its own internal entropy.
- The ability of the entity in question to replicate all or parts of itself, independently, regardless of the type of biophysical unit replicable; or the ability to reproduce sexually; or the ability to replicate its consciousness.
If the entity can be conclusively proven to be sapient, it is defined as technically alive, regardless of the existential status of any of the above requirements.
After investigation of a biologically ambiguous entity, this clause may be altered (only if necessary) to encompass the new type of life form.
Elemental BasesLife in the cosmos has a plethora of chemical bases, with most commonly recognizable biochemical systems stemming from any of a handful of molecularly versatile elements:
Multiatomic BasesThe existence of several multiatomic base-element analogues is an entirely different and vastly more complex can of worms, especially when invoking the possibility of the extant samples' near infinite theoretical cousins. Listed here are the extant molecular bases only:
- Magnesium oxide
- Aluminum oxide
- Hydrogen sulfide
- Heteropolymic acids
Non-Chemically-Based LifeThere are a select few examples of confirmed life that are chemically indiscriminate or not based on chemistry at all, instead relying on inorganic electrical systems, complex quantum interactions, or photonics and gravity to transmit, receive, and store energy and information. These are rare, but they do exist and are potentially the most alien entities to fulfill the definition of life. In order of decreasing corporeality and increasing rarity, these are the known non-chemical consciousness types:
- Achemical Computational Intelligence (ACI/"AI")
- Nebular Consciousness (Monian Nebula)
- Hardlight Entities
- Gravitic Consciousness (disputed)