NASA Finds .... Something?
Given that NASA has been focusing a lot lately on comets and asteroids, I'm leaning to something a bit less dramatic than ET coming out of the shadows. My guess is they'll find that test results from one of their flybys has shown that one of the comets they poked had something living on it that shouldn't have been there. Bacteria on the surface or something. Certainly worth getting excited about, but nothing on the level of contact with our Vegan (not the vegetarian kind) masters.
One other possibility might be that Cassini found something interesting in the atmosphere of Titan. The probe recently did a high orbit pass of the moon to collect a sample. Titan is awfully cold so it's unlikely anything found there would be life as we know it. Especially since the atmosphere there is not compatible with Earth based life. Oceans of liquid methane on the surface, thick methane gas mixtures for air. Who knows.
Whatever it turns out to be should be fairly interesting and at least worth tuning in to watch at 11am PST (2pm EST). If it really is the Vegans then I welcome our new overlords with open arms.
RIP United States of America
July 1776 - November 2012.
No aliens, no microbes on comets, no interesting stuff found on Titan. Just more of the same old BS. The guys in the news conference haven't even said anything useful. They just keep saying how they're going to try and explain why this is important and then doublespeaking their way through their segments without ever actually explaining something.
(nice blog image for this one though.)
What they're hoping is that this different type of life (weird life, its called) we be based around different types of molecules to us and/or has different functions, which should aid them in identifying life on other planets/comets.
It seems they've found an extremophile that's capable of doing something that they didn't think normal life could, which is a blow of sorts to research. Of course, why they're making a fuss over it and announcing it like that is beyond me, they should be well aware that nobody would care.
It's the attack of the rock monsters! Run from the hills!
Of course we should all care! This could set modern science on it's figurative head for decades to come yet, hell, it might even get the attention of Al Gore & Carl Sagan... er, um.. Stephen Hawkings. Yeah, I meant Hawkings...
Well, no it won't. What it will do is open whole new avenues of investigation and discovery. In this case, it will open up the possibility of life in an atmosphere that's different than ours; essentially meaning the Vorlon are a possibility. I would fully expect Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawkings to be interested in this.... Al Gore...not so much.
Overall, it is interesting though, because it does mean that the narrow range of conditions we've always restricted our consider to in regards to life sustainable planetary conditions wasn't broad enough so we could easily be missing things in our search for others out there, but I suspect that it still doesn't remove the main requirement yet of the world requiring a significant water presence. On the other hand, I didn't see the program so, maybe I'm wrong about that. What was the gist? Were these not carbon based life forms? Were these creatures that have no water content and which don't breathe oxygen? Unfortunately, as Samson said initially, their new release is extremely vague and does not provide any details.
It's a bacterium that can survive in arsenic instead of hydrogen. Other than that, it needs everything any other life form needs.
But it does mean (provided we ever find some) that life 'could possibly exist' on worlds who's atmospheres are not 'exactly' the same as earth. That means the odds just went up: how much, is impossible to tell.
Well, yes, that's basically what I was saying. We've always judged it not important to study worlds that didn't have an atmosphere that was basically the same as our own when searching for life. If this means that we now know life can exist that doesn't have the same requirements as life on Earth (really more like finally accepting that life could exist in forms that have adapted to environments that would be hostile to our form of life) then our search parameters have been expanded quite a bit.
To observe the process, the research team grew the bacteria in Petri dishes in which phosphate salt was gradually replaced by arsenic, until the bacteria could grow without needing phosphate. Using radio tracers, the team closely followed the path of arsenic in the bacteria, from the chemical's uptake to its incorporation into various cellular components.
I know it's still a really cool thing to happen, but this kind of sleight of hand is why so many people are so skeptical of scientific discoveries. Artificially inducing the change in a lab means it's no longer a natural life form, and if you've forced it to uptake arsenic you can't put it back where you found it or the natural phosphates will kill it.
Much like humans can build up immunity to otherwise poisonous materials over time, but sudden immersion without that length of time generally means death.
The discovery isn't even technically a discovery. More of an invention. The bacteria was engineered to do this.
So, do you suppose they could reverse the acclimation period to be able to return it to it's original habitat without harm?