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Thread: Wow! NASA finds "Alien" life

  1. #1
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    Default Wow! NASA finds "Alien" life

    So it seems as if NASA has found some bacteria here in a lake that completely violates all known forms of DNA sequences. I guess this one is made form arsenic which is a first here on earth.

    http://www.longislandpress.com/2010/...ursday-leaked/

    Seems pretty interesting to me. Gonna watch the conference at 2PM

    -Marc
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  2. #2
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    Default Quite a discovery

    Watched the CNN report of this news conference. This truly is an amazing discovery, but most people likely will not be able to see it as such. While this was a discovery on our home planet, it certainly shows a greater than before realized possibility of life elsewhere. The greatest frustration of this is that given the constraints of the presently known laws of physics we are unlikely to ever know beyond our own solar system.

    Chuck

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    This is indeed a great discovery. Biology books will have to be rewritten. This is the first time one of the "magic six" essential elements of life has been replaced by another in an organism.

    I've read the Science article though. Not surprisingly there is a different story from what you read in the media. For example these bacteria don't really need arsenic, they will do fine on a phosphorous only diet, but seem to do best when they get both arsenic and phosphorous.

  4. #4
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    Default

    now admittedly, i dont know too much about biology and life and DNA and such. but my BIGGEST complaint for the nay sayers of life elsewhere is why do we impose our eartly laws to pertain through out the universe?

    in other words-

    life on earth requires water, sun, carbon (whatever) as basic things to sustain life. why do we assume thats the case on planet "X" 500 billion trillion miles away? maybe life elsewhere requires NO sun and NO water to sustain life. maybe water and carbon and the basics of life HERE is not necessary elsewhere.

    We keep saying that we need to find more planets like earth to have a chance to find life. why? Perhaps the planet we need to find is 100% completely opposite of earth. why do we (our scientists) presume that life elsewhere must follow the same laws they follow here. Physics, yes...i understand that (to a point) that is supported by numbers, math and reproduceable experimentation.

    but with life (whatever types of life) does not follow any sort of "laws" except for that here on earth. Physics follows laws no matter we look, travel and observe. The laws are viewable and testable. Life is not.

    just my outlook on things.

    again, im not a scientist. im lucky i can even spell scientist. lol. i just find it quite naieve of us as humans to assume all of the billions of light years and zillions and zillions and quadrillions of miles of space are all assumed to follow the laws we observe here on earth.

    hmmm....i need a beer

    -Marc
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  5. #5
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    Default What about DNA

    Quote Originally Posted by tocket View Post
    This is indeed a great discovery. Biology books will have to be rewritten. This is the first time one of the "magic six" essential elements of life has been replaced by another in an organism.

    I've read the Science article though. Not surprisingly there is a different story from what you read in the media. For example these bacteria don't really need arsenic, they will do fine on a phosphorous only diet, but seem to do best when they get both arsenic and phosphorous.
    Did the Science article address DNA? The CNN report stated that the DNA was totally foreign (I think they actually used the word alien). I strongly suspect this was their attempt to make the story much more interesting in the minds of the average viewer, and of course succeeded in making it misleading.

    Chuck

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    The Truth is Out There...
    RR

    Metrologic HeNe 3.3mw Modulated laser, 2 Radio Shack motors, and a broken mirror.
    1979.
    Sweet.....

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ckilgore1 View Post
    Did the Science article address DNA? The CNN report stated that the DNA was totally foreign (I think they actually used the word alien). I strongly suspect this was their attempt to make the story much more interesting in the minds of the average viewer, and of course succeeded in making it misleading.

    Chuck
    Yes, there is some information about the DNA, but it has not been sequenced yet (that will probably happen very soon though). There really isn't anything to suggest that it's alien or foreign. It's part of an already known family of bacteria.

    Currently this isolate, strain GFAJ-1 identified by 16S rRNA sequence phylogeny as a member of the Halomonadaceae family of Gammaproteobacteria (see fig. S1) (11), is maintained aerobically with 40 mM AsO4^3-, 10 mM glucose and no added PO4^3- (+As/-P condition). Members of this family have been previously shown to accumulate intracellular As (12).
    Our NanoSIMS analyses, combined with the evidence for intracellular arsenic by ICP-MS and our radiolabeled AsO4^3- experiments demonstrated that intracellular AsO4^3- was incorporated into key biomolecules, specifically DNA.

  8. #8
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    Good point Marc, I totally agree with you. I've often wondered the same thing. Our understanding is so limited that I find it ignorant for us to even begin making assumptions about the requirements for life. We don't even understand life on earth completely. Who are we to make estimates about the requirements for life elsewhere? Regarding the discovery, Kudos to the scientists. This is certainly a great step forward.

  9. #9
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    dumbed down for ding bats like me-


    NASA is saying that this is "life as we do not know it". The reason is that all life on Earth is made of six components: Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

    That was true until today. In a surprising revelation, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon and her team have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today, working differently than the rest of the organisms in the planet. Instead of using phosphorus, the newly discovered microorganism—called GFAJ-1 and found in Mono Lake, California—uses the poisonous arsenic for its building blocks. Arsenic is an element poisonous to every other living creature in the planet except for a few specialized microscopic creatures.


    -Gizmodo

    Now to me, that seems like a seriously exciting discovery. maybe not "alien" like alien beings from another planet, but none-the-less seriously thought provoking!

    -Marc
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  10. #10
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    Default

    If you want to know what the Science article really says/means without having to read it: http://pipeline.corante.com/archives...ve_thought.php

    Written by a guy far smarter than the "scientific" journalists in media. He is really good at writing and I can definitely recommend reading it.

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