Home » Extraterrestrial life, News » Two separate papers say NASA’s claim re bacteria eating arsenic is false

Two separate papers say NASA’s claim re bacteria eating arsenic is false

Here.

It found that the bacterium was not really replacing phosphorus with arsenic throughout its DNA but “may sometimes assimilate arsenate into some small molecules in place of phosphate.”

Rather than being a new form of life that thrives on arsenic, Science’s statement summed up the latest studies by describing the bacterium as “a well-adapted extremophile that lives in a high-arsenic environment.”

They did not, however, retract the original paper.

Why this matters:

1) NASA was using its prestige to attempt to shut down discussion (snipes about dissenting scientists being mere bloggers are a clue. Today lots of people blog, whether or not they live in pajamas or eat cat food.).

2) More important, when looking for extraterrestrial life, we first need to answer a key question: Is life constrained? Will only certain formulas work? If so, can laws be derived, to prevent wastes of time? To judge from the uproar around super-Earths, it’s early days right now.

Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

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