Habitability: The Argument Of Life


Or, Star Trek to NASA: you've found my Horta!

What is life?  We used to think we had a good answer for that.  Recently we thought there were a handful of chemicals that were necessary for life, among them, Phosphorus.   Phosphorus is found throughout any living body – bones, cell walls, energy transport, proteins, even DNA.  In fact it is so necessary for life and so common inside a cell that it is possible to compute how much phosphorus must be contained in a given cell in order for it to function.

What our scientists have found is a microbe along the shores of Mono Lake that is able to substitute arsenic for phosphorous.

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