Nasa announces breakthrough that has 'alien lovers' excited

02 December 2010 - 02:29 By Times LIVE

US space agency Nasa might have discovered a new way in which life can exist - it has issued an invitation to a press conference today, promising revelations about an ''astrobiology discovery''.

Writing for thefirstpost., Tim Edwards said that, though details about the Nasa announcement were sketchy, ''there was enough information in the news alert to get alien-lovers excited''.

The announcement relates to an embargoed scientific paper to be published in the December issue of Science.

Among the participants at the press conference will be astrobiologists Pamela Conrad, who wrote a paper on the geology of Mars, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, who has written about plants using arsenic instead of water to produce sugars by photosynthesis, and Steven Benner, a Nasa biologist who is studying Titan, Saturn's biggest moon, which is believed to have oceans of liquid water under its ice shell.

One blogger, kottke, concluded from this that ''they were going to talk about arsenic-based life on Titan''. But Edwards said that this theory had been rejected.

Alexis Madrigal, an editor of The Atlantic, tweeted: ''I'm sad to quell some @kottke-induced excitement about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. I've seen the Science paper. It's not that.''

Madrigal refused to break the embargo and say what the conference was about.

Blogger Phil Plait speculated: ''It's more likely they've found a new way in which life can exist and that evidence for these conditions exists on other worlds." - Staff reporter