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Help me please with a question about carbon-based life development. I'm almost sure I know answer, could anybody with more solid knowledge in the area confirm it. Could carbon-based life develop on a planet without helium? Did helium help the process on any stage?

As I understand, yes could, because helium is noble gas which does not react with other elements. Or maybe I am wrong?

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    $\begingroup$ You see much helium around here? Not really. But helium is constantly produced via alpha decay, so it would be hard to not have any of it. Why are you even asking this? $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Oct 1 '16 at 21:38
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    $\begingroup$ You are right, helium plays no role in biochemistry and could just as well not be there; that would make no difference. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Oct 1 '16 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ Helium plays no part in chemistry never mind life. A more interesting question would be whether life could work in the absence of radioactivity (which often produces helium). $\endgroup$ – matt_black Oct 1 '16 at 22:54
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    $\begingroup$ As much as I would love to see life use helium somehow, it seems too hard. The neutral atom shares a spot with neon for the least reactive substance in all of chemistry, whereas the other commonly-found form of helium, the alpha particle ($\ce{He^{2+}}$) from radioactive decay is arguably the most reactive substance in all of chemistry. Life can only work with supremely delicate balancing of reactivity in the middle of the scale, not such crazy extremes. $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto Oct 2 '16 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ Without helium there would not be floating balloons. Without floating balloons, people would be unhappy. Unhappy people are bad for society, which would implode in the long run. And that's only because there is no helium. So you see, it is quintessential and human life would not be possible without helium. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Oct 2 '16 at 15:34
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Helium in stars is an initial product in the fusion reactions that go on to make "more interesting" elements. In that sense we do need helium to get life going.

Once the more complex atoms are made, however, life appears to have no further use for helium. As Nicolau mentioned, it seems too hard to see life use helium. The neutral atom shares a spot with neon for the least reactive substance in all of chemistry, whereas the other commonly-found form of helium, the alpha particle (He2+) from radioactive decay is arguably the most reactive substance in all of chemistry. Life can only work with supremely delicate balancing of reactivity in the middle of the scale, not such crazy extremes.

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