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NASA Reveals Results of Arsenic Study

While some people may think that Rich Rodriguez and his athletic future are the biggest news around, NASA certainly begs to differ.  NASA is a group that most people associate with rockets, moon landing and space exploration. Founded in 1958, NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the branch of the government that handles the civilian space program. A majority of children at one time or another have wanted to be astronauts. The idea of leaving the Earth and going to the moon or Mars is something that for most people is the stuff of dreams. When NASA made an announcement that they had made a big discovery, many assumed it would be some ground breaking information about another planet or a moon. The assumption was that the big news would be about alien life from somewhere far away. As revealed in the press release, the alien life couldn't be any closer to home.

Alien Life on Earth

Life as we know it is made possible in a big way because of a few key elements. One of the most important one of these elements happens to be phosphorus. Up until the NASA discovery, life on Earth was presumed to require phosphorus to survive. The tests showed that a certain bacteria could substitute arsenic, a typically deadly element, in its growth process. This new process could mean that life could exist somewhere that there is no phosphorus, a thought that didn't seem possible before. This is very interesting for many scientists interested in the thought of extra terrestrial life forms. These bacteria are not necessarily a new life form; they have simply evolved a new mechanism for survival in an environment that only has arsenic [1].

Impact of Arsenic Study

The results of the study revealed by NASA were not about anything outside of our atmosphere. Although it seems unusual for the space administration to be doing research in a lake on Earth, the resulting data has applications for the idea that life could exist on other planets. Many people were hoping that the announcement would be about NASA actually finding some form of life on another planet or the moon of another planet. To those who thought this, the announcement may have been a little bit of a letdown. These findings do not prove anything about the actual existence of life on other planets, they just allow for more of a possibility.

Expenditures of the Space Program

Even though this most recent revelation by NASA is not as exciting as some had hoped, it does bring a spot light onto the program. Many people seem to think that there are much more pressing issues to deal with down here on this planet before we start exploring all the other ones. In order for NASA to run properly, it requires a lot of money. Many feel that this money could be more wisely spent in other programs. With people out of work and families struggling to make ends meet, the thought of dumping money into something that seems so unreachable for most Americans is a hard pill to swallow. Between buying groceries and auto insurance service, most people can't even think about money going into space.

Throughout its history, NASA has accomplished amazing feats of science and human ingenuity. The new technology and knowledge that has been gained is priceless. Technologies formerly used by astronauts are now common place in people's homes. The future of programs like NASA will depend on how well their scientific achievements can be translated into benefits for the typical person. One thing is for sure, they are going to have to do a lot more than find a cool evolutionary trick of a bacterium to pique everyone's interest.

[1] http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/dec/HQ_10-320_Toxic_Life.html Retrieved 2010-12-06.

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