Alien Life Found on Earth?
Alien Life Form Found on Janus VI
NASA Discovers a New Life Form
NASA has discovered a new life form. The scientists were trying to find new life forms in outer space. But they have now found a bacterium, which has some basic differences to the structure of life forms so far found on the earth. This discovery has far reaching consequences on future research on the alien life forms expected to be discovered in outer space, on planets, asteroids or comets.
On 2nd December 2010, a team of NASA scientists officially announced the discovery of a new life form, a bacterium named GFAJ-1 found in Mono Lake, a mineral concentrated water body in Northern California. After seeing the headlines in the science magazines and numerous websites and blogs in that week, if somebody waited to see the green colored aliens shaking hands with humans in near future they are disappointed by now. The discovery of an Arsenic breathing bacterium from Mono Muck (Sediments with very high Arsenic concentration from Mono lake) was first reported in the prestigious journal "Science" on Friday, 15th August 2008. This did not create a sensation as about 20 Arsenic breathing bacteria had been discovered by that time from various places.
So, what is the significance of this new finding?
Mono Lake in California
Life on Earth
Animals and all other forms of life use some essential elements in their body structures and for the metabolism. For example 99% of the human body is made up of six elements.
- Oxygen (65.3%)
- Carbon (18.1%)
- Hydrogen (10.1%)
- Nitrogen (3%)
- Calcium (1.5%)
- Phosphorus (1.0%)
Ability of the carbon atoms to form long chain type molecules, the solvent properties of water and the properties of Phosphorus that could make DNA molecule are the essentials that makes the humans live. Animals and other life forms like plants, Algae and bacteria also use these elements as building blocks and for essential life functions like metabolism and reproduction. As the Carbon plays a very big role in forming the structure of the body and involves in almost all the life functions the life forms on earth are called Carbon based life forms. Scientists believed that the life to originate and survive Carbon and other elements mentioned above are essential.
Alien Life Forms
The belief that all the life forms must be similar to the life on earth and all should breathe oxygen, and should have DNA made of Phosphates is challenged now. The bacteria discovered by the team of NASA scientists headed by Felisa Wolfe-Simon are capable of using Arsenic in its metabolic functions. And most importantly it can replace the phosphates in DNA molecule with Arsenate.
If other alternative elements can take the place of elements like Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Phosphorus that make large molecules like DNA, RNA, Proteins and Enzymes that are the building blocks and other chemicals needed to keep the life functions, life can exist in environments where earthly life cannot survive. This leads us to think that the life in far different forms may exist in places that we never expected to support life. This is the significance of the new discovery. Though the news in media and the discussions made it a sensation, much of the euphoria has died down now, allowing for the serious discussions, reflections and further research into this.
Silicon based inteligent alien - Horta
Silicon Based Intelligent Beings of Janus VI
Now the scientists have to do further research to find whether there are any other different species of other life forms that has originated on earth, or come from space with meteors or comets. They can see whether DNA like chemicals can be made with elements other than the elements that make DNA normally. This can answer many puzzles on life. The most interesting fact on this discovery is that very different life forms can exist in very different environments. This has been predicted by many philosophers, scientists and Science fiction writers.
My favorite alien life form was Horta. I came to know about Horta in early 1970s by reading Star trek, though the privileged earthlings who had access to TV came to know about Horta a couple of years earlier. (We had to wait for TV to come this way till 1979). Horta is a Silicon based life form from the planet Janus VI and first contact (telepathic) with Horta was made by Mr. Spock of the Starship USS Enterprise.
Star Trek: Devil in the Dark
Life Cycle of Horta
Horta evolved on Janus VI, the sixth planet in the Janus system. Its entire body is made of rock and lives by feeding on rock. It can tunnel through the rock just like we move through air or a fish swim in water. The extremely corrosive acid from its body dissolves the rock as and when it moves through rock. Every 50,000 years all the Horta exept one die after laying their eggs. The surviving Horta, called the mother Horta cares for the eggs till they hatch. If you are interested on knowing more about Horta you can watch original episode “The Devil in the Dark” from Star Trek Season One. If you want to see Horta you have to wait 200 years or can use a time machine to go to 2210