When taking in the beauty of Mono Lake, just outside of Yosemite National Park in California, know that among the mysterious tufa formations and still waters there may be a secret hiding. Geobiologists have declared that mysterious life forms within the lake may in fact be indicative of extraterrestrial life elsewhere in the universe.
Freshwater springs bubbling up from the alkaline waters serve as a source to the mysterious body of water which covers over 65 square miles. And it’s thought that within the waters there is evidence of a “shadow ecosystem” existing at once in conjunction with and completely outside of the normal ecosystem. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, who has been studying the “weird life” within the lake for some time. Mono Lake has been around, according to geologists, for thousands of years. The concentrations of carcinogenic arsenic is higher here than anywhere else on the Earth, making the makeup of this environment vastly different from anything else life has evolved from on Earth. It is the gradual time scale, relative isolation, and the harsh environment that makes Mono Lake a potential breeding ground for life forms outside of conditions on Earth.
Phosophorous, a chemical similar in structure to Arsenic is an integral building block of life on this planet, as it is a primary component of both ATP and DNA. If the microorganisms in the lake are proven to have originated within the lake, it is possible that the organisms were created during a period of “second genesis” after the initial wave of life on the planet began. Such a discovery would mean that life could be created under vastly different conditions than those on Earth and would go a long way toward proving life on other planets, if even in its most miniscule monocellular form.
The “Evolutionary Pathway” used by such an organism would incorporate Arsenic instead of phosphorous in its development, in a form Dr. Wolfe-Simon calls “arsenolife.” The research, which is being funded by NASA hopefully will by the end of it lend credence to the idea of life forms based using materials vastly different to those understood on Earth. The idea of a “second genesis” isn’t entirely a new one, but research into the topic has thus far been inconclusive. Dr. Wolfe-Simon says she has gathered quite a bit of exciting data and will be releasing her results by the end of the year.
Of course scientists have speculated that the chances of life existing on Earth in the first place were monumentally small. The gravitational specifics alone were so unlikely that the chances of them being perfect for life on Earth is equivalent to a ruler stretched from one end of the universe to the other and then picking a single inch on that ruler. A simple shift to the left or right would mean life could not exist as we know it. And of course there are hundreds of other factors that make life possible that would otherwise serve to hinder the existence of life as we know it if they were even slightly different. Of course the operative word phrase in these theories is “as we know it.” Life, if it could exist in even one form different than the carbon based molecules utilizing the chemical compounds we are aware of could be a vastly different yet still overwhelmingly present force in the universe.