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This post got rejected from ontd_startrek. Wheeee! I mean, it's not really even about space... so whatever. ANYWAY:

NASA Finds New Life


Article excerpt:

"NASA's geobiologist Pamela Conrad thinks that the discovery is huge and "phenomenal," comparing it to the Star Trek episode in which the Enterprise crew finds Horta, a silicon-based alien life form that can't be detected with tricorders because it wasn't carbon-based. It's like saying that we may be looking for new life in the wrong places with the wrong methods. Indeed, NASA tweeted that this discovery "will change how we search for life elsewhere in the Universe."


Full text!




NASA has discovered a new life form, a bacteria called GFAJ-1 that is unlike anything currently living in planet Earth. It's capable of using arsenic to build its DNA, RNA, proteins, and cell membranes. This changes everything. Updated.

NASA is saying that this is "life as we do not know it". The reason is that all life on Earth is made of six components: Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

That was true until today. In a surprising revelation, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe-Simon and her team have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today, working differently than the rest of the organisms in the planet. Instead of using phosphorus, the newly discovered microorganism—called GFAJ-1 and found in Mono Lake, California—uses the poisonous arsenic for its building blocks. Arsenic is an element poisonous to every other living creature in the planet except for a few specialized microscopic creatures.

According to Wolfe-Simon, they knew that "some microbes can breathe arsenic, but what we've found is a microbe doing something new—building parts of itself out of arsenic." The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding organisms in other planets that don't have to be like planet Earth. Like NASA's Ed Weiler says: "The definition of life has just expanded."

Talking at the NASA conference, Wolfe-Simon said that the important thing in their study is that this breaks our ideas on how life can be created and grow, pointing out that scientists will now be looking for new types of organisms and metabolism that not only uses arsenic, but other elements as well. She says that she's working on a few possibilities herself.

NASA's geobiologist Pamela Conrad thinks that the discovery is huge and "phenomenal," comparing it to the Star Trek episode in which the Enterprise crew finds Horta, a silicon-based alien life form that can't be detected with tricorders because it wasn't carbon-based. It's like saying that we may be looking for new life in the wrong places with the wrong methods. Indeed, NASA tweeted that this discovery "will change how we search for life elsewhere in the Universe."






For images and video, check out the original post at Gizmodo.



(Raise your hand if you read the article, realized they've ONLY been looking for Earthlike life forms, and smacked yourself on the forehead. GUYS. DUH. Of COURSE you should be looking for life other than what's in our cozy carbon ghetto. Oy.)

(Then raise both hands and clap them together in appreciation of the dorkiness of NASA Trekkies. d'awwww. <3)

Comments

( 6 commentaires — Envoyez un commentaire )
gleeful_t
05 déc 2010 00:09 (UTC)
Hands raised and clapped. That's adorable!!!

(Also not to be a ho but I don't know why they didn't accept this, it's trek-related and its not like there are a ton of other new posts going on...)
alder_knight
05 déc 2010 20:39 (UTC)
Yeah, that was sort of my logic... comm's been kinda dead lately, this is vaguely Trek-related, yadda yadda. They said it was "too much of a stretch," so okay. It IS a stretch. Just thought it might be relevant to folks' interests. Glad it was to yours! :D
(anonyme)
05 déc 2010 23:25 (UTC)
Definitely relevant! I can't believe they've only been looking for carbon-based life! I mean, didn't they even consider the Horta? Or those weird aliens from that bad Lost In Space movie version that I'm pretty sure at least had Gary Oldman in it as a redeeming factor? I'm going to need Dr. Sheldon Cooper to have an opinion about that on my television pretty soon.
capelia12
05 déc 2010 05:38 (UTC)
Love this article. I was hoping that they found the life on a different planet... Well, I guess Cali is ok too... :3
alder_knight
05 déc 2010 20:50 (UTC)
THE SCIENTIST WHO HEADED THE RESEARCH IS AN OBERLIN DOUBLE-DEGREE HOMG.

POSTING THAT SHIT ASAP.
capelia12
05 déc 2010 22:37 (UTC)
I KNOW! ALSO, SHE MAJORED IN OBOE PERFORMANCE TOO. OBERLIN WIN!!! XD
( 6 commentaires — Envoyez un commentaire )