Earlier this week, NASA teased a big discovery, which many thought to be life on Titan.
While not as cool as life on Titan, the discovery was that of arsenic based life. In a NASA funded research project, Felisa Rose-Wolfe took bacteria from Mono Lake in California and fed them only arsenic for a year. The bacteria grew, even though they were deprived one of the essential elements found in all Earth-based life.
The implication of this discovery is the basic building blocks of life on Earth are not unique. Although carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur are found in all life on Earth, this is not the only viable combination of elements. This means that exoplanets do not have to be “Earth-like” to harbor life.
The actual research article can be found here.