Did NASA Discover Life in the Saturnian System?

Um, no.

NASA put out this press release, which inspired a blogger to post some speculation based on the credentials of the participants in the press conference:

if I had to guess at what NASA is going to reveal on Thursday, I’d say that they’ve discovered arsenic on Titan and maybe even detected chemical evidence of bacteria utilizing it for photosynthesis

–and the Internet went wild with the announcement that NASA had found life on one of Saturn’s moons, including an Atlanta newspaper.¬†Of course, nowhere in NASA’s press release did they say anything about Saturn or Saturn’s moons, but feh! Who cares about what the primary sources say. Speculation is fact!

My guess? There has been some kind of study or experiment that shows how life could evolve based on a different chemistry than familiar Earth life, and that that chemical environment may exist (or have existed) elsewhere in the Solar System. The point of such a finding would be that we’d have to make sure any future astrobiology studies don’t just look for life as we know it – that they include the new chemistries. But that’s only my guess.

If NASA had discovered life, don’t you think the press release for the upcoming news conference would be front and center on NASA.gov, and that the list of panelists would include names like Bolden, Garver, Holdren, or Obama?

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