Heaven Is A Place On Earth

Look at me go! Writing another blog post! There’s just a few things that happened today/a few days ago that are worth posting!

Also – hit play on this video and then read the below stuff. Just a little mood music to make your reading experience that much more enjoyable. Look at me, a multi-media blogger.

If you didn’t hear, NASA made a big announcement about extraterrestrial life today. I borrowed this from io9.com it’s Everything You Need to Know about NASA’s completely new life-form.

What is the discovery?

The discovery, made by NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon and her team, is straightforward enough. We often think of carbon as the crucial element for life, but actually there are six elements that work together as the basis of every last organism we’ve ever found. These are carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus. Phosphorus is part of the structural framework of DNA and RNA, essentially acting as the molecular girders that hold everything else in place.That makes phosphorus essential to the stability of DNA and, in turn, the existence of life.

Wolfe Simon investigated whether a different element could be substituted in the place of phosphorus. The obvious place to start is with arsenic, which is directly below phosphorus on the periodic table and thus shares many of the same properties. Her team headed to California’s Mono Lake near Yosemite National Park. Mono Lake is an incredibly unusual ecosystem, with three times the amount of salt as seawater and, crucially, it’s poor in phosphorus and rich in arsenic. Despite this, life thrives in Mono Lake, and so the team collected some microbe-rich mud and took it back to the lab.

There, they placed mud in a setting where the microbes would have everything they needed to live, such as sugar and vitamins. Crucially, however, they created a phosphorus-free environment and pumped the test area full of arsenic. Nothing should have survived in those conditions – indeed, arsenic is notoriously toxic. But the microbes didn’t just survive, they actually thrived in the seemingly impossible conditions.

Essentially, instead of things needing phosphorus to live, they can now use arsenic, which is found abundantly in our galaxy. So this proves that there is a bigger chance of things being out there. So yay!

In other news that no one I know cares about. Lebron James came back to Cleveland after being a dick in the off season. He got booed lots. Big deal.

And lastly, National Geographic recently published their 2010 photography contest. You can find some of them here, below I’ve posted my favourites.


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