Their Senses

The people of planet GJ-1214b experience four basic senses:

Touch: The physical characteristics of objects that come into contact with the outer membranes of their brain or body cells will cause changes in their geometry and structure, just as the geometry and structure of the surface of your skin is changed when you touch a surface to feel whether it is rough or smooth. Any of these changes caused by physical contact is experienced as feeling or a sense of touch.

Taste: When their cell membrane interacts chemically with an object that it comes in contact with, the result is a taste-like sensation. These chemical reactions allow the people of GJ-1214b to distinguish characteristics such as acidity and sweetness, just our the chemical reactions of food with the taste buds on our tongues do.

Smell: They can also detect and recognize chemicals dissolved in the water. This is essentially the same chemical interaction with the membrane that produces a “taste” sensation, but it is in response to dissolved particles rather than coming into contact with physical objects. So, a person might “taste” the sulfur in a grain of sand that was absorbed into a vacuole of one of their body cells, but they would “smell” the acidity of the water from a thermal vent.

Telepathy: The transmission of mental representations encoded in plasmid RNA from one person to another is experienced subjectively by them as “hearing thoughts.” This is sometimes used as intentional, directed communication that plays the same role that spoken language does for humans, or can be unintentional, as stray thought-plasmids simply diffuse into the water around a person and get picked up by the people around them.

There is no fifth sense.