NASA – new life form found with chemical building blocks of life based on arsenic. Yes, arsenic bacteria! The odds of other life forms are now increased with the discovery of this possible shadow biosphere in California. Up until today, scientists thought that all life on planet Earth was based on six basic elements: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus. But NASA has found a form of bacteria from the toxic Mono Lake in California which has no phosphorus. Instead, it’s DNA has arsenic in it. In fact, this bacteria even can eat arsenic. Is this bacteria a form of extraterrestrial life that originated in space? Blogger Jason Kottke first raised the alarm while the NASA announcement of the discovery of a very thin oxygen on Rhea, Saturn’s second largest moon. Rumors of a media ‘gag-order’ on a pending article in Science Journal spread fast. According to Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a biochemist who is a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow and part of the National Astrobiology Institute at Arizona State University, this discovery is important. Today’s NASA news conference is making history. Phil Plait of Discover Magazine thinks the evidence of bacteria with DNA based on arsenic maybe be alien life, or at least certainly changes what we could expect in extraterrestrial life.

nasa announcemet arsenic bacteria

So, the questions are, is this bacteria extraterrestrial? Or is it merely mutated? Or, is it ‘normal’ for life on Earth? Do we really understand the fundamentals of life on Earth? We already know that life below the surface of the Earth, bacteria found some 20 miles beneath the Earth’s crust, is a primitive form of life that lives on hydrogen gas.

Mono Lake, California is a very scenic site, even if the water is toxic. From the LandSat image below, one can easily image that about million years ago, when scientists believe the lake was formed, it may have been the result of an asteroid impact. Up until now, the speculation is that the lake was formed from volcanic activity. But, as we know that primitive bacteria deep below the Earth’s crust is chemically different, could this explain the arsenic-based bacteria discovered?

NASA – new life form found with chemical building blocks of life based on arsenic. The odds of other life forms are now increased with the discovery of this possible shadow biosphere in California. Today’s news conference that the NASA announcement was made at leaves more questions than answers. The evidence of bacteria that is based on arsenic, even eats arsenic, may be alien life originally from space. But even if it is not extraterrestrial life, the bacteria does prove that life as we know it may not be as we knew it. Life on planet Earth can be far more dynamic and diverse than previously thought.

NASA Mono Lake California

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