This is awesome.
A couple days ago, I wrote about NASA’s press conference scheduled for today where they would have a major announcement about the future search for life off-Earth. Their announcement today was about the discovery of a previously unknown type of life here on Earth that is chemically different than all other known life:
All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every form of life on earth shares the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same. Or so we thought.
NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon announced that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is very different to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria discovered in the poisonous Mono Lake in California uses arsenic in its DNA’s molecular structure. While she and other scientists previously theorized that this might be possible, this is the first actual discovery.
For those interested in the details of the findings, a comprehensive recap is found here.
The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding life on other planets that don’t have to be Earth-like. If there is more than one possible chemical profile for the molecules of life, the potential for life starting around one of the other 400 Billion suns in our galaxy alone just increased exponentially.
This is an amazing time to be alive.
I would also like to point out that I totally called this one on Tuesday. I’m so rarely right about anything that I wanted to gloat for a moment.