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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Who’s there? NASA finds new life form… on earth

Discovery of arsenic-based life form is unlike anything ever seen before.

NASA's new discovery is life, not as we know it, but doesn't necessarily mean aliens walk among us
NASA's new discovery is life, not as we know it, but doesn't necessarily mean aliens walk among us

NASA HAS CAUSED a commotion in the scientific world by announcing that it has discovered arsenic-based life forms on Earth.

According to the Washington Post, calls were made to NASA from the White House and Congress after the revelation, asking if they had actually discovered “a second line of earthly life”. The Post explains:

All life on Earth – from microbes to elephants and us – is based on a single genetic model that requires the element phosphorus as one of its six essential components. But now researchers have uncovered a bacterium that has five of those essential elements but has, in effect, replaced phosphorus with its look-alike but toxic cousin arsenic.

NASA’s Ed Weiler said that the discovery means that “the definition of life has just expanded”. The discovery was made in Mono Lake in California. NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, said that although we know that microbes can breathe arsenic, what her research team has found is a microbe that is doing something completely new – building new parts of itself out of arsenic.

For more on the scientific nitty-gritty of it all, see the team’s full report here. They titled it with “Get Your Biology Textbook… and an Eraser!”

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