NASA Discovers Bacteria Made of Arsenic? (Altering Everything We Know About Biology)

NASA will make a major astrobiology announcement today, in its most-anticipated press conference since it sent the rover to Mars. According to a leak in a Dutch newspaper, the big news is that it has discovered new life in California's hypersalinated Mono Lake. Not as rote as finding a new species, though––this life is remarkable because it is a bacteria made entirely of arsenic, utterly toppling everything we know about biology and what life is made of. Furthermore, its existence opens up the possibility to the existence of life on other planets that don't have the same conditions we do here on earth. And that is awesome.

Previously, we've been taught that all life on earth is comprised of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur––even those eerie-looking deep-sea creatures living at volcanic vents. This new bacteria contains none of those, adding another building block to the DNA chain and altering our idea of arsenic as poison forever. Read more at Gizmodo, and watch the official NASA press conference at 2 PM EST today.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at December 2, 2010, 4:36am

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