NASA – Toxic Chemical Shows New Form of Life
February 15, 2011
Researchers of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have begun to challenge the fundamental materials in not only our educational textbooks, but also, what we as humans knows of as life on Earth. According to this press release article NASA’s funded experimental projects that analyzes astrobiology have discovered signs of life in a toxic chemical. Those researchers conducting the test are located in Mono Lake in California; and have found the first microorganism on Earth that has the ability to flourish by a toxic chemical know as arsenic.
While there are six essential building blocks that support all known life on Earth: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur, one element in particular defies new meaning. Although phosphorus is given credit for carrying development in DNA and RNA, it is now being substituted by arsenic for cell components. Laboratory studies have shown microbes continuing to grow when arsenic is placed in selective samples. This has only given Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator and Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA astrobiology researcher, the belief that we have a whole new meaning to the term life. Wolfe-Simon now suggests we need to really question, what other evidence of life forms exist on Earth, other planets and even the Universe?
The Washington Post, and The New York Times, both had similar stories when reporting this news release for NASA. While both articles seem to be intrigued by these findings, they ultimately “hyped up” this discovery for NASA to dramatize the idea of potential life forms “aliens” that may remain in our solar system that we are unaware of. It was a bit interesting to find little if any information about this topic on major broadcasting websites such as CNN or FOX. Though there were other sources that reported on NASA’s discovery, along with the ones just mentioned, a majority seemed to not question the scientific reasoning behind this particular study. However, in my next post find out how and why this topic of life is just the tipping point in starting the fire that has bloggers and major news media’s outraged.