New ‘alien’ life found just outside of Mammoth Mountain at Mono Lake

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on December 2, 2010 11:26 am

It’s one of the most scenic drives, the 395 between Mammoth Lakes and Reno (to Lake Tahoe of course!).  The first “oh wow” spot between the two ski locales is Mono Lake, just 30 miles north of Mammoth.  The lake looks like it’s from another planet, and according to NASA scientists, it kind of is… 

Life built on arsenic, instead of phosphorus?  A new life form has been discovered here on our swinging sphere.  CBC News reports:

For the first time ever, researchers have discovered an organism that can use arsenic as a chemical building block for life.

A special strain of Halomonadaceae bacteria appears able to use arsenic — an element that is usually toxic to living things —instead of phosphorus, which is normally an essential ingredient in DNA, fats and proteins, reported a study published online Thursday in Science Express.

“Our findings are a reminder that life as we know it could be much more flexible than we generally assume or can imagine,” lead author Felisa Wolfe-Simon said in a statement.

Read the entire CBC article here.

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