Wednesday, 23 February 2011
The picture below shows Mono Lake, about 20 miles from Bodie. Strange as it may seem, this lake is of great interest to astrobiologists (who spend most of their time thinking about other planets), because of its unusually high salinity and alkalinity. This means the only organisms found living in the lake are "extremophiles" -- able to exist in environments that would be fatal to most Earth life. A NASA research team recently discovered a bacterium (which they called GFAJ-1) living in Mono Lake that appears capable of metabolizing arsenic, which is normally a deadly poison!