The NASA Announcement of an arsenic based bacterium found in a California lake could alter how they approach the continuing search for extraterrestrial lifeforms.
Thursday’s announcement had scientists explaining that the belief an organism required phosphorous to live may have been proven incorrect.
The bacterium was found at the bottom of California’s Mono Lake. It was then taken from the mud and placed in a lab mixture that contained arsenic where it was left to grow. Over time it defied one of the basic principals of science when it began to trade its phosphorous for arsenic.
The newfound discovery will alter the way NASA searches for other lifeforms. Previously the experiments conducted would look at elements and reactions that were based on life on Earth.
Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Washington headquarters summed up the situation nicely. He announced ‘the definition of life has just expanded’.