NASA has a big announcement coming today: scientists have discovered a species of bacteria whose metabolism uses arsenic in lieu of phosphorus. Ecologist and writer Sarah Goslee has more info here.
3 Dec 2010 Update: Great posts on the newly-created arsenic eating bacteria are popping up, now that Science has released the article. In addition to Sarah Goslee’s post, above, we now have Athena Andreadis, a biomedical researcher and blogger, on the science and what it all means, in her post “Arsenic and Odd Lace.”
Here is Peggy Kolm with “One creature’s poison is another one’s meat,” a post about arsenic and the assorted science fictional uses it’s been put to. (Did you know Klingons need a little arsenic in their diet? Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?)
Sarah Goslee points us to a good writeup in Astrobiology Magazine about the search for alien life, on Earth.
7 Dec 2010 Update: As scientists have begun evaluating the arsenic-eaters study, they are finding major flaws in the science and a firestorm of criticism is flaring up over it. Critiques from other researchers in the field are summarized in a Slate article, here.