NASA’s ‘new form of life’ found in arsenic-rich lake disproven, scientists insist
Two new scientific papers have disproved a controversial claim made by NASA-funded scientists in 2010 that a new form of bacterial life had been discovered that could thrive on arsenic.
“Contrary to an original report, the new research clearly shows that the bacterium, GFAJ-1, cannot substitute arsenic for phosphorus to survive,” said a statement by the US journal Science, a prestigious, peer-reviewed magazine.
Science published the much-hyped initial study in December 2010, with lead researcher Felisa Wolfe-Simon, then a fellow in NASA’s astrobiology program, announcing that a new form of life had been scooped from a California lake.
NASA has conducted numerous probes at eastern California’s Mono Lake, an unusually salty body of water with high arsenic and mineral levels, as it is likely to reflect conditions under which early life evolved on Earth, or perhaps Mars.