New Possibilities for Alien Life

The discovery of an Earth microbe that thrives on arsenic should greatly broaden the search for life beyond Earth, NASA announced.

In a much-anticipated press conference, NASA announced that the bacterium GFAJ-1, found in a briny California lake, doesn’t just tolerate arsenic — it can incorporate the poisonous stuff into its DNA and other vital molecules in place of the usual phosphorus

Most biologists will tell you that six elements – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur are essential; life as we know it cannot exist without them. But recent discovery of an organism that can utilize arsenic in place of phosphorus, however, has demonstrated that life is still capable of surprising us in fundamental ways.

And it potentially opening up a new pathway for life on Earth and other planets.

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