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'ALIEN' LIFE FOUND in California

Well, that's the gist

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Once the internets noticed NASA had scheduled a press conference on astrobiology later today, they wasted no time in speculating what the announcement could be.

NASA said the press conference would discuss a "finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life". Enough grist for any conspiraloons fed up with Wikileaks stories to predict imminent news of alien life.

In fact NASA's findings are a little closer to home. The space boffins have found a bacterium living in an arsenic lake near California's Yosemite National Park.

The finding is important because the bacterium uses arsenic in place of phosphorus - an element previously considered vital for all forms of life.

If there can be life without phosphorus then there are thousands more planets which could sustain life of some sort.

The news was covered by an embargo - dubious agreements under which reporters are given information on the understanding that they will not publish it until an agreed time - but The Sun incontinently spaffed most of the details on Wednesday.

The official announcement from NASA is due later today, stay tuned... ®

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