This post will collect links to all the articles discussing the NASA/arsenic life debacle. This topic uses the tag #arseniclife on Twitter. Articles are organized by date within each subcategory. There is another link-dump here, posted Dec. 7 2010, and a Twitter history here.
Some of the back and forth between the authors, NASA, and the critics is discussed in the mainstream articles and in the blogs. The original press release happened Dec 1-2 and the article was published a day later.
A brief summary:
NASA announced a finding with implications for astrobiology and new forms of life. There was speculation about aliens, but when the article came out in Science in December 2010, the findings were simply that there were bacteria that may have incorporated arsenic into their DNA. This would have important implications for the existence of a different sort of biochemistry than is currently known for organisms on Earth. However, almost immediately, microbiologists and other scientists on the Internet began posting blogs and articles critiquing the methods, conclusions, and press release related to the article. NASA and the lead authors responded by refusing to respond, because the critiques were not made in traditional scientific channels. One of the authors eventually responded in a NASA talk, and said that the bacteria were freely available for others to run their own experiments. Many have taken this as an important lesson in the role of the media and on how scientific discussion should or can take place.
(I will add a suggested reads list as I have time.)
Links after the jump…