By Mike Deliman
Or, Star Trek to NASA: you've found my Horta!
What is life? We used to think we had a good answer for that. Recently we thought there were a handful of chemicals that were necessary for life, among them, Phosphorus. Phosphorus is found throughout any living body – bones, cell walls, energy transport, proteins, even DNA. In fact it is so necessary for life and so common inside a cell that it is possible to compute how much phosphorus must be contained in a given cell in order for it to function.
What our scientists have found is a microbe along the shores of Mono Lake that is able to substitute arsenic for phosphorous.