Starry Sky of an Alien Lake

By: Wally Pacholka


Region: Americas

Site: Mono Lake - USA

Date: 2007 April 18

In a calm evening of Mono Lake in California, dazzling planet Venus accompanies the setting winter constellations of Taurus and Orion. The notable V-figure of Taurus (the Bull's face) is at the lower left of Venus while Pleiades star cluster is at its lower right. Mono lake has no outlet and dissolved salts make the lake very alkaline and salty. But the lake has an unusually productive ecosystem. It's most famous world-wide for hosting a strange bacteria named GFAJ-1 which is capable of incorporating the usually poisonous element arsenic into its biochemistry. This alien-like bacteria is the first known life-form that uses arsenic to make its DNA and proteins. This bacteria is a promising evidence that life might exist elsewhere in the universe, even in environments that biologists once wouldn't have imagined. Wally Pacholka/

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