Gizmodo is reporting that NASA’s big announcement later today will be that a new form of life has been found in the harsh environment of California’s Mono Lake: a bacteria that is based not on the familiar six chemicals of all other life on earth, but one based on arsenic.
The mind reels. Is this something that has been hiding at the bottom of a lake ever since it rode to earth in a meteorite, validating the Panspermia theory of how life came to this planet?
Or does it lend credence to the idea that life could spring from inanimate material on this planet by showing that it happened not once, but at least twice?
Either way, expect the religious fundies to shrug it off with their usual “mysterious ways” anodyne. For science geeks, however, Christmas is coming early!
Update: Gizmodo’s egghead commenters are throwing cold water on the announcement even before it’s released. Instead of an entirely new form of life, they point out, this is simply an example of a normal form of earth life adapting in a remarkable way to harsh conditions. Well, if that’s the case, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. We’ll soon see what NASA has to say about it.
Update 2: Zzzzzzz. Please see our new post about what a letdown this announcement turned out to be.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 2, 2010