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NASA Science

NASA Finds New Life (This Afternoon) 405

While the official 2pm conference should have more answers, most of the internet has decided that NASA has discovered a completely new life form based on arsenic instead of the more traditional organic materials. We'll know more in a few hours.
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NASA Finds New Life (This Afternoon)

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  • Re:Great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:01PM (#34418020) Homepage

    Combined from two other posts I made:

    If what's being reported is accurate, they've discovered a life form whose DNA was previously thought to be completely, unequivocally, no-exceptions impossible. Not just "we haven't found it", but impossible.

    The point is that it means that life could exist in ways we haven't even conceived of yet. It's not the finding itself that's important, but rather the implications of having hard confirmed evidence that what we have long thought was wrong.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:05PM (#34418066)

    I, for one, welcome are new arsenic-based overlords.

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:19PM (#34418312)

    The really interesting question is how an arsenic-based bacterium would avoid the effect of arsenic binding to sulfhydryl groups in proteins.

    Which brings up the question of just how different this life is. Did evolution just find a neat little way to avoid the problems with Arsenic or is the biochemistry substantially different at every level? Basically, is this just a new branch off the tree of life, or is it a completely new sapling the next field over?

  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:20PM (#34418330) Journal

    This still doesn't explain the information embargo...

    It does if this is being published in a respectable, peer-reviewed, scientific journal concurrent with the announcement. Scientific journals will generally provide advance copies of 'interesting' upcoming publications to members of the media, on condition that the news be embargoed until a particular time -- generally around the time that the full publication becomes accessible to the journal's readers. Journalists get advance copies so that they can start writing their articles early, so they can get quotes from relevant experts, and so that there is at least a faint hope that their coverage will be well-researched, thorough, and accurate, and bear at least a passing resemblance to the actual science being presented.

    That's the right way to do a scientific announcement, by the way. (The wrong way is exemplified the Pons and Fleischmann's 'science by press conference' cold-fusion debacle, where you make the public announcement before your scientific peers have a chance to review your work.

  • by gilleain ( 1310105 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:30PM (#34418482)
    Perhaps its proteins use selenocysteines? Or it produces lots of de-arsenating enzymes, like bacteria that live in very hot temperatures (100 deg, say) produce more HSPs.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie