So it would appear that science is wowing us again... (Woo!) and they are now postulating that life might be able to exist in places we never thought possible. How so? Well simple; Scientists have discovered a bacterium (it's like bacteria, but ponderous [and singular]) that can live and even thrive in arsenic. (Don't ask who it was that spilled the wrong beaker...)
You got bacteria in my arsenic!
You got arsenic in my bacteria!
The long and short of it is that science is proving the possibility of life outside of our usual, nature, and plausible realms. Which in turn might suggest the existence of life in places we haven't thought to look for it. Science has often believe that their are 6 basic elements that need to be present to support life (as we knew it) and those elements were: Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus and Sulfur.
Arsenic Loving Bacteria, Aliens at home...
Up until recently these 6 were the list. They just were. No one would dare question the almighty list. (Kinda like how no one asks why Sarah Palin is so popular, or how George Bush wrote a book... no we didn't really understand it, but there is was and no one really questioned it)... So this list was shattered recently by a group of student/researchers at NASA who were really focused (suspect: Lack of sex and abundance of caffeine) which lead to them noticing the similarities between Phosphorus and Arsenic (who could have missed it! Geeze guys!). So in the end they checked out an arsenic-hole in the muds of Mono Lake in California (yes there's a place called Mono Lake, and it's an arsenic rich mud lake... real family destination!) While drugging through the mud the researchers found a particular bacterium that feasted on arsenic and didn't have any phosphorous in it's life (poor thing?). This discovery lead to some brilliant minds running wild and with NASA releasing this statement:
"This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth. The research is published in this week's edition of Science Express." (Free excerpt from that paper here!)
So in summation: With original hypotheses being that aliens could exist on hundreds of millions of orbiting rocks out there... we've just added hundreds of millions of more places to look!
Cheers to infinite possibilities and little green men. (If these buggers can digest Arsenic, just imaging the cocktails they must drink!)
PS Stuff coverage here!