UGA astronomer available to comment on NASA announcement of new life form

Athens, Ga. – A University of Georgia astronomer said today’s announcement that NASA-funded researchers have discovered the first known organism that apparently does not require phosphorus in its cellular components has significant implications for the search for extraterrestrial life.

“The discovery of this arsenic life form clearly indicates that nature has far more varieties than we think plausible,” says Inseok Song, assistant professor of astronomy in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “Because of this discovery, we may need to expand the meaning of habitability to exclude the existence of liquid water, because some life forms use different solvents,such as alcohol or ammonia,for life.”

Song’s research explores the possibility of extraterrestrial life and the origins of the solar system. His research involves the direct imaging detection of extra-solar planets, origins of the Solar System and young stars in the solar neighborhood. For more information, see http://cosmos.physast.uga.edu/iSong/.