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Arsenic Based Bacteria? Maybe Not.

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posted on Dec, 8 2010 @ 09:57 AM
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Looks like the NASA scientist may have jumped the gun on their arsenic eating bacteria announcement.

A large number of scientists are crying fowl on the techniques used by the NASA scientists during their experiments


None of the scientists I spoke to ruled out the possibility that such weird bacteria might exist. Indeed, some of them were co-authors of a 2007 report for the National Academies of Sciences on alien life that called for research into, among other things, arsenic-based biology. But almost to a person, they felt that the NASA team had failed to take some basic precautions to avoid misleading results.



But how could the bacteria be using phosphate when they weren't getting any in the lab? That was the point of the experiment, after all. It turns out the NASA scientists were feeding the bacteria salts which they freely admit were contaminated with a tiny amount of phosphate. It's possible, the critics argue, that the bacteria eked out a living on that scarce supply. As Bradley notes, the Sargasso Sea supports plenty of microbes while containing 300 times less phosphate than was present in the lab cultures.


SOURCE




posted on Dec, 8 2010 @ 10:07 AM
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ruh roh.

Perhaps Nasa had a premature science finding?



posted on Dec, 8 2010 @ 10:08 AM
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reply to post by amadeus30
 
I still give credit to the panel for including the self-proclaimed "curmudgeon" when the announcement was made, who pointed out that the findings were not yet confirmed and there were other possible explanations for the findings, etc. So if anyone really watched and paid attention to the announcement, the opposing viewpoint was already presented at the time of the announcement. Some people seem to overlook that fact or didn't know the full contents of the announcement.

Thanks for posting this. Scientific findings always need to be confirmed, and until they are we have to take them with a grain of salt (lightly laden with phosphates in this case
).



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur So if anyone really watched and paid attention to the announcement, the opposing viewpoint was already presented at the time of the announcement. Some people seem to overlook that fact or didn't know the full contents of the announcement.


Oh great :shk: Now you NASA huggers are saying NASA has built in fail insurance...
Why go to all the fuss of making a big deal of an upcoming major release... let the media and us hype it up, only to release stuff they are not even sure of?

Sounds like the time Levine found liquid water on Mars till internet bloggers pointed out the pic was on a HILL

Or those announcements of 100% chance of life on Gliese581G only to tell us they are not sure the planet is really there

WHY are they still in business?



NASA’s Mono Lake Arsenic Microbes Not Quite As Advertized


After several microbiologists analyzed the NASA paper and its methodology, they concluded that laboratory errors caused NASA scientists to think the microbes did not use phosphorus.

In fact, says Harvard microbiologist Alex Bradley, the NASA scientists unknowingly demonstrated the flaws in their own experiment. They immersed the DNA in water as they analyzed it, he points out. Arsenic compounds fall apart quickly in water, so if it really was in the microbe’s genes, it should have broken into fragments, Bradley wrote Sunday in a guest post on the blog We, Beasties. But the DNA remained in large chunks—presumably because it was made of durable phosphate. Bradley got his Ph.D. under MIT professor Roger Summons, who co-authored the 2007 weird-life report. Summons backs his former student’s critique.

But how could the bacteria be using phosphate when they weren’t getting any in the lab? That was the point of the experiment, after all. It turns out the NASA scientists were feeding the bacteria salts which they freely admit were contaminated with a tiny amount of phosphate. It’s possible, the critics argue, that the bacteria eked out a living on that scarce supply. As Bradley notes, the Sargasso Sea supports plenty of microbes while containing 300 times less phosphate than was present in the lab cultures.


tucsoncitizen.com...

Nasa study announcing discovery of bacteria that lived on arsenic dismissed as 'flim flam' by scientists


It was hailed as a discovery that would have massive implications for the search for life on other planets. But Nasa’s announcement that it discovered a form of bacteria in a Californian lake that could survive on arsenic has come in for serious criticism from top scientists. In a hugely-anticipated press conference last week, Nasa scientists said they had discovered a form of 'weird life' that was able to thrive on arsenic - and even incorporate it into their DNA.

But scientists who have read the research paper on which the announcement was based have claimed that the science that led to the 'discovery' contained some serious flaws.

Rosie Redfield, a microbiology professor at the University of British Columbia, says she is ‘outraged at how bad the science was’.


www.dailymail.co.uk...

NASA = NEED ANOTHER SPACE AGENCY



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 10:43 PM
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reply to post by zorgon
 


So you'd rather they just kept all the information they get so you can get back to claiming they're just suppressing everything i assume.

By the way, when did NASA say 100% chance of life on Gilese 581g? I'm going to guess you mean Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at University of California Santa Cruz, making a statement on his personal beliefs of the "propensity of life to flourish wherever it can".



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 10:50 PM
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Originally posted by Stuffed
So you'd rather they just kept all the information they get so you can get back to claiming they're just suppressing everything i assume.


NASA suppress stuff? No way


No I would rather they hang up their hats and let private sector take over space exploration. I am sure private enterprise can make a reasonable deal with the secret space program to not step on their toes. Then we might actually get some real results before I am 6 ft under



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 11:02 PM
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reply to post by zorgon
 



See, I'm all with you there on the private sector space exploration deal, because personally, i too would like some actual progress in that field. However that doesn't mean I'm going to play both sides of the fence here and say that while on one side, NASA suppresses information so we never get to see it, then on the other side complain when they do make an announcement and basically say "why release information at all"



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