Thursday 2 December 2010

NASA discovers arsenic-born organisms, search for life gets broader parameters

If you were hoping NASA was going to announce the very first tweet from an extraterrestrial being, sorry to break your heart -- it is astrobiological, but the findings are actually borne of this rock. Researchers in Mono Lake, California have discovered a microorganism (pictured) that uses aresnic instead of phosphorous to thrive and reproduce. The latter, as far as human life is concerned, is a buildng block of life along with carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, integral to DNA and RNA. Arsenic, meanwhile, is generally considered toxic to life as we know it. In other words, NASA's proven that life can be made with components different than our current assumptions -- both locally and beyond the stars. That sound you hear is a thousand light bulbs popping up as science fiction writers everywhere conjure up brand new super villains. The press conference is still going on, we're listening in and will let ya know what else we hear.

Read more from engadget or wired.

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