Friday, December 3, 2010

It's life Jim but not as we know it

So yesterday's announcement from NASA was actually rather interesting, though as I surmised, not exactly first contact level news.

Essentially, thanks to the most alien place on Earth, Mono Lake in California, we now have definitive proof of and information on a microbe utilizing arsenic instead of phosphorus to live. This article from BBC News in February of last year discusses the early forray into the exploration of this unusual phenomena.

Now I'm going to let that sink in a moment. Now, I'm going to wake you up. Yes, I know it doesn't sound that special to us gamers and science fiction fans who've been reading about and theorizing intelligent shades of blue for over 30 years but it really is significant.

Unfortunately it requires further tests (what doesn't?) before it can be a certainty that it isn't a fluke or a poor excuse for a better system. As one scientist put it, "If you had phosphorus present in sufficient quantities would the microbes still use arsenic?" Good question.

Anyway, I will continue to follow the story but I'm really only biding my time until we get to Pluto and find, I don't want to ruin the surprise. Heh, not a planet. We'll see whose not a planet.

Barking Alien

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