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 Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA

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Noitulove
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PostSubject: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:59 am

Well, earlier today, I was just strollin' around reading various articles scattered across the internet when--

I read that NASA discovered a new lifeform on our planet. But not just any lifeform. A lifeform made of arsenic.

Now, that may sound like a new one. That's because it is. (Not arsenic, the lifeforms. You've probably heard of arsenic as poison.) I'll quote the article to make it easy for you non-link-clickers:

Quote :
NASA held a press conference Thursday afternoon in which they revealed the discovery of arsenic-based life forms on Earth. As Marc Kaufman explained:


All life on Earth - from microbes to elephants and us - is based on a single genetic model that requires the element phosphorus as one of its six essential components.


But now researchers have uncovered a bacterium that has five of those essential elements but has, in effect, replaced phosphorus with its look-alike but toxic cousin arsenic.


News of the discovery caused a scientific commotion, including calls to NASA from the White House and Congress asking whether a second line of earthly life has been found.

While speculation had been building of the possible discovery of extraterrestrial life, Melissa Bell brings us back to Earth:


Before you get disappointed, realize that while not as sexy as a little green man, it is a big deal. No other life form exists off arsenic. It had long been the assumption that without six certain essential elements -- carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur -- life could not exist. This discovery shows "life-as-we-know-it could be much more flexible than we generally assume or can imagine," Felisa Wolfe-Simon a NASA biochemist told the Post's Marc Kaufman.

The Post's satire columnist Alexandra Petri had this to say about the new discovery:


I picture this bacteria as sort of a hipster. "Oh, you're still using phosphorus?" it asks. "Yeah, I liked phosphorus during its blue period, but I've moved on to arsenic." "Isn't that lethal?" a regular earth bacteria asks, nervously. "It's an acquired taste," the arsenic bacteria responds.


Apparently, the place to find this sort of bacteria is Mono Lake, California. Admittedly, the announcement that someone has found a totally alien life-form in California is not exactly breaking news. Usually the California response to finding completely alien life is to give it a reality TV show.


Still, this is big news.

So there you have it, something that's technically very alien on Earth. Which brings me to the point, since we really don't know that much about life down to the molecular level, there are many discoveries to be made, and thus, included in-game for the sake of realism. Of course, we don't have to be too accurate, for reasons previously stated by Bashinerox-- it would kill our computers--but I'm talking about, say, life being made out of different chamicals than previously known, or the Sun revolving around Earth, or the orbit of planets being perfectly circular... Couldn't we just add these discoveries into the game via add-on? Given, we don't suddenly know everything about life before the game is finished, which is very very unlikely.

Discuss. I mean, discuss the arsenic-based life forms, the add-on business could be discussed in another thread.
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eumesmo
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PostSubject: Re: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:05 pm

arsenic shares many similar proprieties with phosporus (same group) so this was actually predcted by many scientists, much like the (still ) theroretical Si based lifeforms instead of Carbon. This is a major breakthrough in order for us to fully understand how diverse can and could life be. About add-ons, i think we have already said (at least here and there ) that there ll possibly be. And since it's a freesource, those add-ons could even be done by players
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~sciocont
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PostSubject: Re: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:55 pm

Important, awesome discovery. *Clinks glasses
However, chemical composition doesn't really affect our game.

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Mysterious_Calligrapher
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PostSubject: Re: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:22 pm

Meh, since we don't actually do chemicals... Cools. Maybe we could give it a nod when we write up text strings?
Amazing, but not something to add to Bashi's plate. However, we could address it in PR too...
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Invader
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PostSubject: Re: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:09 pm

This could totally change the definition of survivable conditions on other planets. I always wondered why people were so dead-set that every lifeform in the universe had to be just like our own (by chemical means).

So, to them I say, "HA HA!" in my best Nelson voice.

Now, I wonder if we've missed any lifeforms on other planets. I mean, these things we found are just tiny little buggers, but what if we've passed up other tiny little buggers on other planets?
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US_of_Alaska
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PostSubject: Re: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:42 pm

InvaderZim wrote:
This could totally change the definition of survivable conditions on other planets. I always wondered why people were so dead-set that every lifeform in the universe had to be just like our own (by chemical means).

So, to them I say, "HA HA!" in my best Nelson voice.

Now, I wonder if we've missed any lifeforms on other planets. I mean, these things we found are just tiny little buggers, but what if we've passed up other tiny little buggers on other planets?
We tend to look closer at our moon and Mars samples than here on Earth. However, with this discovery that might change.
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Commander Keen
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PostSubject: Re: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:50 am

I saw it on a Czech news portal on Thursday, but I thought it was a hoax (Novinky.cz is famous for them, and there was no source provided..)

Still, this discovery brings sciency a lot closer to our game.
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Poisson
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PostSubject: Re: Arsenic-Based lifeform discovered by NASA   Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:37 pm

I think if we wanted to incorperate it wou could make arsenic toxic normally but make it possible to evolve an immunity, like with any other poison.
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