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  1. #1
    Ice Hole's Avatar
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    NASA makes "Astrobiology Discovery"

    Looks like NASA has assembled an interesting team of researchers to make a big "astrobiology discovery" announcement Thursday. Expectations are mixed from "nothing to see here" to "BUUUUUUUUUGGGGSS!!!" but based on the people involved it should be an interesting announcement either way.

    Something to do with arsenic and Titan and possibly bacterial emissions.

    Media advisory

    NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2.

    WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.
    Participants are:
    - Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington
    - Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.
    - Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
    - Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla. (Team Titan)
    - James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe (Follow the Elements)

  2. #2

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    Bloody press embargoes.
    There's some speculation that bacteria found under an arsenic lake in Yosemite National Park has completely re-written what biologists consider to be a "life-supporting" environment, and gives substance to the theories of non-carbon lifeforms. Interesting ****.

  3. #3
    Ice Hole's Avatar
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    This is awesome beyond words.

    NASA-funded astrobiology research has changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth.

    Researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in California have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components.

    "The definition of life has just expanded," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it."
    The results of this study will inform ongoing research in many areas, including the study of Earth's evolution, organic chemistry, biogeochemical cycles, disease mitigation and Earth system research. These findings also will open up new frontiers in microbiology and other areas of research.

    "The idea of alternative biochemistries for life is common in science fiction," said Carl Pilcher, director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "Until now a life form using arsenic as a building block was only theoretical, but now we know such life exists in Mono Lake."
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/..._chemical.html

    YouTube - Life Built With Arsenic 1of2

    YouTube - Life Built With Arsenic 2of2
    Last edited by Ice Hole; 12/02/2010 3:28pm at .

  4. #4

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    Watched the press conference. So cool. Too cool.

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    Amazing. I'm having a nerdgasm.

    Wasn't there some deep-sea bacteria they discovered a while ago that doesn't use any oxygen, and feeds on metals?

    *edit* I think this is it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_sulfur_bacteria
    Last edited by kcvmac; 12/03/2010 12:24am at .

  6. #6
    Ice Hole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcvmac View Post
    Amazing. I'm having a nerdgasm.

    Wasn't there some deep-sea bacteria they discovered a while ago that doesn't use any oxygen, and feeds on metals?

    *edit* I think this is it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_sulfur_bacteria
    Viruses and single celled organisms can live in anoxic environments but there were also several deep water species discovered in April 2010 that thrive in an essentially zero oxygen environment at the bottom of the oceans.

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    Thanks for the link.

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    "Scientist" tag for W.Rabbit Please.

    Thnx.bi.

  9. #9
    Ice Hole's Avatar
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    The only tag they would ever agree to give me is "Dumbass", I'm sure of it.

    Anything short of becoming a professional MMA fighter won't cut it.

  10. #10
    Snake Plissken's Avatar
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    now since they essentially feed on arsenic, which is generally considered a heavy metal and quite toxic to most organisms, have they determined if these bacteria emit beneficial gases?

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