Ancient Buried Lakes of the Sahara
The NASA "Mono Lake Discovery" Panel Discussion VIDEO

"Limits of Organic Life": NASA to Search for 'Weird' Non-Carbon-Based Life

Alternativelife Yesterday's announcement by NASA of the discovery of the possibility of arsenic-based life in Mono Lake fits hand-in-glove with NASA's strategy to expand the search for life beyond Earth to extreme non-carbon-based life. No discovery that we can make in our exploration of the solar system would have greater impact on our view of our position in the cosmos, or be more inspiring, than the discovery of an alien life form, even a primitive microbial one.

The discovery over the past decade of extreme life forms thriving on Earth at the super-heated walls of Ocean volcanic vents and in the interior regions of the planet's crust, led to a seminal 2009 report, The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems, by the National Research Council (NRC). The NASA sponsored report recommended that the search for beyond Earth’s solar system should be widened throughout the universe to include the possibility of  “weird” life.

"Nothing," the report concludes, "would be more tragic in the American exploration of space than to encounter alien life and fail to recognize it.”

Earth did not accumulate oxygen during the first roughly 3 billion years, or form an ozone layer until about 1.5 billion years ago. There is considerable emphasis on looking for contemporary Earth atmospheres that have oxygen and an ozone layer, but, the report hits home, we should also be using models with different anaerobic microbial non-carbon ecosystems, atmospheres that might parallel the different stages in the evolution of Earth's atmospheres over 4 billion years, and conditions that could indicate the presence of a tectonically active planet.

The report pointed out that the exploration of the planet is concentrated on looking for places where liquid water exists—which goes along with the idea of where life is found on the Earth. However, they emphasize that liquids such as ammonia, methane, and formamide could also be the building blocks for life.

Saturn's moon, Titan is a perfect candidate: the discovery of evidence of liquid water-ammonia on Titan provides the potential for life-bearing polar fluids outside what is normally regarded as the habitable zone. The stay of the Cassini-Huygens mission on the surface of Titan was unfortunately brief; but Titan is the locale that is likely to support exotic life, which could be discovered using robotic remote sensing devices.


Casey Kazan


DG should be thrilled to death. For once, you have an real excuse to write all about ET's, which we all know you love to do.

Anyway, as far as I know, Arsenic has never even been a serious consideration for life. I think the two main elements/compounds that people hoped could be a basis for life where always Methane (because of Titan) and Silicon (because of Star Trek TOS). Adding Arsenic to the list probably doubles the likelihood that Methane will work, and it certainly doesn't hurt anything elses odds.

Of course, you have to keep in mind that this is only bacteria. I still think if we are to encounter anything in the galaxy more evolved than bacteria, it will probably be Carbon based like us, just because we know it works so well. Think about it: Carbon based and Arsenic based life both existed on Earth, in direct competition, and yet Carbon based life won out unquestionably. That is proof that Arsenic-based life is inherently inferior to Carbon-based life.

I too was excited when I first read about this, but it should be clarified that its not really arsenic-based life (as opposed to carbon-based life)... which seems to give the impression that arsenic is used instead of carbon in its cell-composition.

In fact, the bacteria is remarkably similar to any other "normal" bacteria with carbon-chains and all, with the exception that in place of phosphorus it uses arsenic.

anyone remember the movie evolution? lol

we should stock up on our head and shoulders dandruff shampoo just to be sure

The Great Oxygenation Event is thought to have happened about 2.4 billion years ago, or half the age of Earth. This was the first appearance of free oxygen in the atmosphere. The abundance of free oxygen remained low compared to the present level for a long time after that.

So what is the origin of these bacteria. Could they be evidence of a second genesis here on Earth
or are they simply bacteria that have evolved a different way of doing things.

So it is quite possible that 1 billion years after the Earth's creation there could have been life on Earth. Could have maybe had huge creatures on Earth 2 billion years after, completely different from anything we see today. Maybe the changing planet and increasing oxygen killed them off.

imagine whats in stereo lake.

Nothing is impossible, everything is possible, and every thing is revealed at the right time decided by nature.

That some retarded shit dude

no these bacteria were created in a lab, not in natural conditions. Sorry to burst everyones bubble.

Amazing pictures.Thanks for yoursharing.

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