Last week, NASA was nearly on the verge of peeing itself like an excited puppy when it announced that it has discovered bacterial life in a lake in California that built its DNA on a backbone of arsenic rather than phosphorus rather than every other living thing on the planet. But now it appears that this may not be correct and NASA may have been sloppy, premature and amateurish in publishing its reports.
Redfield blogged a scathing attack on Saturday. Over the weekend, a few other scientists took to the Internet as well. Was this merely a case of a few isolated cranks? To find out, I reached out to a dozen experts on Monday. Almost unanimously, they think the NASA scientists have failed to make their case. “It would be really cool if such a bug existed,” said San Diego State University’s Forest Rohwer, a microbiologist who looks for new species of bacteria and viruses in coral reefs. But, he added, “none of the arguments are very convincing on their own.” That was about as positive as the critics could get. “This paper should not have been published,” said Shelley Copley of the University of Colorado.
I’d really like for this to be true, but I would have assumed that if NASA made such a big deal about the whole thing that they were beyond just inferring, but perhaps there’s still some work to be done before this is 100% confirmed.