I Shared my Flesh with Thinking Cancer.

Some of you may remember that line.  It’s from “The Things“, that unabashed piece of fan-fic I wrote a while back (and which seems to be getting way more love than I was ever expecting). A few of you may even remember the research that inspired it — I  blogged about it a few years […]

The Way Things Are.

Packing for Frankfurt.  No time for thoughtful analysis of  the Mono Lake Arsenic Monster (although I did take pleasure in watching Keith Olbermann correct the NASA scientist who screwed up  the name of Star Trek’s Horta episode) beyond saying: Cool, but I actually think that the discovery of anaerobic metazoans has more profound implications when […]

Deep Sea = Deep Space

A few bits of personally-relevant science have slid down the pike the past few days:  yet another step along the road to functioning head cheeses, and a development in graphene tech that might — if you squint really hard and give me way more credit than I deserve — seem a bit reminiscent of Rorschach‘s computational […]

Posted in: biology, extraterrestrial life, marine by Peter Watts 6 Comments

The Living Dead

Meet Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator, the bacterium that does it all: fix carbon, fix nitrogen, synthesize all essential amino acids, locomote — an organism that can exist totally independent of other life. It doesn’t even need the sun. This fucker basically lives on sulfur, rock, and electrons*. It’s an obligate anaerobe, without even the most rudimentary […]

We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Carbon

Okay, now here’s a paper to kick your paradigms a little off-kilter: self-replicating, mutating complex structures built from inorganic dust, kick-started into a form of rudimentary “metabolism” by charged plasmas. For want of a better word, Life. Inorganic life. Spawned from starting conditions reasonably common in deep space, if I’m to believe the commentary. Of […]

Posted in: extraterrestrial life by Peter Watts 6 Comments

"It’s 20 light years away. We can go there."

Now that’s the kind of attitude I like to see coming from a legitimate authority– to wit, Dimitar Sasselov of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, quoted in today’s NY Times. He was talking about Gliese 581c, a potentially earth-type planet orbiting a dim red dwarf in the constellation of Libra. 1.5 time Earth’s radius; 5 […]