Non carbon based life forms found by NASA

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by thatoneguy, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. thatoneguy

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Still carbon based, but if I read it correctly, the DNA is entirely different. Arsenic instead of phosphorous? That is wicked cool. Makes me wonder if it is even terrestrial in origin.
  3. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    I don't think that is quite what was found. The organisms are definitely carbon based. What the researchers found was that the microbes could use arsenic in lieu of most, but not all phosphorus. It is a "simple" substitution, as phosphorus and arsenic are in the same group. It seemed like the news release had a lot of hype, maybe it is grant renewal time. I would say it is somewhat similar to finding organisms that can use sulfur, as opposed to oxygen, as the terminal electron acceptor in metabolism. Kerosene metabolizing organisms, Methanobacteria, Thermophilus, and so forth all expanded our view of microbial life.

    Nevertheless, the finding is still extremely interesting, and I look forward to reading the structural studies that determined exactly where the arsenic went.

    What will really be interesting is if a lead utilizing or germanium-based organism, as opposed to carbon, is found. I will bet neither exists. Although elements may be in the same group and have similarities in chemistry, there are vast differences between the 2nd row elements (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen) and 3rd row elements (silicon, phosphorus, and sulfur). In other words, going to arsenic from phosphorus is less of a chemical jump in terms of the stable compounds that can be formed than is going from carbon to silicon or from nitrogen to phosphorus.

  4. thatoneguy

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    Pretty much that. The .gov had big plans to cut/gut NASA on funding Severely.
  5. tyblu


    Nov 29, 2010
    This is all I wish I had to say: