Wednesday, December 01, 2010
A few days ago NASA announced that they would be holding a press conference with implications for extraterrestrial life. NASA press conferences (including that last one about the black hole) have a tendency to underperform once they end up taking place, and so I assumed that this would be an announcement along the lines of "we found molecule X on Titan, life on Earth produces that molecule a lot so hey, you never know". Interesting, but nothing conclusive.
It turns out though that the press conference is going to be about a type of life on Earth that gets its energy from arsenic. What makes that interesting is that no life gets its energy from arsenic, not as far as we knew until now that is. In other words, this life had to have emerged separately from the life we know, which gets its energy from phosphorous. And that means that life wouldn't need to exist on planets that have conditions similar to ours either.
So that should be the theme of the press conference. Very interesting. How one would interact with an arsenic-based lifeform is another issue.