Friday, December 3, 2010

New Bacteria Excites

What life forms exist beyond earth? Increasingly scientific research has extended the possibilities in an expanding universe. This week the discovery of a bacteria in an isolated California lake in Yosemite National Park that can use arsenic instead of phosphorus to grow created quite a sensation.

The report published in Science and at the NASA website, which funded the research, concluded that it will impact the quest for extra terrestrial life.

Astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell writes in the Guardian, "While not delivering the groundbreaking revelations that many had been anticipating, these arsenic-employing bugs are still interesting. They reveal the astounding ability of biochemistry to utilise whatever raw materials are available, and they provide hints as to how alien cells might be constructed..."

"Astrobiology is a young science, and we're only just now developing the technological capability to properly survey worlds beyond our own for signs of life. There is the expectation that we are right on the brink of discovering the first true twin of Earth orbiting another sun in the galaxy, and a succession of new robotic probes are being planned for places like Mars and Europa that could host alien life."

Dartnell believes we are just around the corner for some awe inspiring discoveries.