[ExI] NASA tease on SETI find

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Dec 3 06:16:21 UTC 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: Rafal Smigrodzki [mailto:rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com] 
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2010 8:22 PM
To: spike
Cc: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] NASA tease on SETI find

On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 9:42 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> This opens up possibilities for the panspermia notion...

### How so? Remember, these are garden-variety gamma-proteobacteria, not
anything that fell from the sky, unless you already believe that all life on
Earth did...

Actually what I meant was I find it very exciting to discover any lifeform
based on any alternate chemistry besides those so familiar to us.  This is
equal to that finding a few years ago of those bugs hanging around the
thermal vents at the bottom of the sea, making their living decomposing
sulfur compounds.  It reinforces in my mind the panspermia notions if we
find more lifeforms based on alternate chemistries in general.

>as well as causing me personally to increase my own estimate of the number
of star systems that support life.

### Trivially, yes, in the sense that our estimate of the probability that
worlds with unusually high metallicity (and therefore high levels of
arsenic) could harbor DNA and protein-based life should now be higher - but
we have no reasons to believe that high metallicity is a significant issue
on most otherwise habitable planets...

Ja.  But having more pathways to life is better than fewer, always.  This
one is cool in that a tech application immediately comes to mind, removing
arsenic from drinking water.  I lived for five years just south of Mono Lake
where these things were found.  Low level arsenic toxicity was thought to be
the cause of many ills there.  We knew there was always low but measurable
arsenic in the drinking water.  When the winds would come howling down from
the north, the dust clouds were known to contain arsenides and arsenates.

###For me a more astrobiologically significant finding was the discovery of
gamma-ray eating molds inside the Chernobyl sarcophagus...Rafal

 I hadn't heard of that, but it is exciting indeed.  This suggests a
lifeform that evolved on site, since nature would perhaps supply
insufficient gamma rays on the surface to support many of these kinds of
beasts.  The commies should have published more on it.  2 December 2010,
this is a good day indeed.  I learn of a lifeform apparently at least
partially substituting arsenic(!) for phosphorus, and on the same day I
learn of commie molds that make their living converting gamma rays.  How
cool is that?  {8-]


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