NASA: The Definition of Life Has Just Expanded

Dec 2, 2010
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Earlier today, we reported that, ahead of NASA's official press conference, that what the Space Organization had actually found was a new step in the order of life itself, and not extraterrestrial life. At least, not in the way that many were thinking (or hoping). What they did find, though, will forever alter the way we look at life. The NASA-funded research endeavor, which was taking place in the Mono Lake, in California, has found the first ever microorganism to not only thrive, but also reproduce utilizing the toxic chemical known as arsenic.

"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 finding doesn't necessarily mean that we've found extraterrestrial life, but it does mean that we can now expand our definition of life, and that means that finding life in space is now a great possibility. Unlike other organisms that can breathe arsenic, this new microorganism is actually building parts of life from the poisonous chemical. A first of its kind. You can check out the live streaming event through this link, as it is happening right now.

[via NASA]


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