When we talk about life, what do we mean? For every known living organism on Earth that means something that is made up of Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Until now, that is.
NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon has discovered a completely new organism that is, as NASA is saying, “life as we do not know it.” The bacteria, known as GFAJ-1, is capable of using arsenic to build its DNA, RNA, proteins, and cell membranes. Yeah, that arsenic… the one that is poisonous to almost every organism on the planet, save a few that can breathe it without quickly proceeding to death.
This opens up a whole new arena for the search for extra-terrestrial live. Now we can start looking for life on planets that are not Earth-like. No longer must the search for life be circumscribed by the strict parameters of our little planet. With larger search parameters, I wonder what we can find? Maybe the aliens won’t be humanoid with blue skin and antennae…
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