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NASA paper on arsenic-bred organisms finds phosphorous-based detractors

Ross Miller
12.09.10
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Calm down, everyone, please take your seats. Now, no one here is saying arsenic-bred life is impossible -- they're not saying that, so your science fiction novel (which should be beyond the outline phase and in rough draft form) is conceptually fine. But, as you might have heard, there are a number of scientists -- including some that co-authored a 2007 paper that called for such arsenic-based research -- who are calling into question the paper behind NASA's big astrobiological announcement, noting what they see as "fatal flaws" and errors in methodology. Frankly, this kind of thing happens with most-to-all science papers, but given all the self-made hooplah surrounding the unveil, a public opposition seems poetically appropriate. Expect this toxic fight to propagate throughout an assortment of scientific journals, the initial test trialed numerous times over in hopes of recreating (and further verifying). Make no mistake, someone'll be bringing a beaker to the test tube fight.

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