2.1. Hesitations of an
Extraterrestrial Scientist: What is Chocolate?
An alien visiting Earth discovers a strange object on the ground. To identify it he proceeds to carry out various tests and analyses. In his ship, the object undergoes mechanical, thermal and electrical tests, as well as some chemical analyses. The alien notes that it breaks easily, softens at low temperatures, melting completely, while at higher temperatures it decomposes and carbonizes.
It is not electrically conductive, not soluble in water or polar solvents, and has not the ordered structure that at first glance it seems to have. Further microscopic analysis allows the identification of an amorphous mixture of at least three different types of substances, one of which is pure and crystalline while the others are complex mixtures. Elemental analysis determines the presence of C, H, O, N, and other elements in trace amounts. The alien gives a small amount of the substance to a dog who subsequently suffers from severe intestinal problems.
Therefore, in the absence of further analysis, the alien tentatively concludes that the substance is a kind of toxic hydrocarbon bitumen of unknown origin and of no industrial interest because of its low melting point. However, more research must take place once the product is transported to his planet.
Chocolate lovers were lucky that no more than a sample was transferred to the alien planet, and not the Earth’s entire production.