Scientists said Thursday that they had discovered aliens that eat and grow the six elements considered essential for life, along with arsenic, shaking the foundations of astrobiology and generally signaling the end of life on Earth.
Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA astrobiology fellow at the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., who led the team of researchers that made the discovery, said, “The aliens have solved the problem of how to [destroy all of humanity]."
“We’re very excited,” said Wolfe-Simon. With echoes of both Carl Sagan and the president in Independence Day, she struck a chord of patriotism amidst tough times, noting that the frightening discovery was made with “an American team, on American soil, with American money.”
The announcement was made at a NASA press conference on Thursday. The event, which NASA broadcast through its website in uncomfortably high definition, was seen by millions of Internet users who may have only been expecting a run-of-the-mill conference “to discuss,” NASA wrote “an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.”
While describing the immanent annihilation of humans at the tentacles of arsenic-built alien overlords, the scientists found opportunities for some excitement. “It’s a really nice story about adaptability of our life form,” he said. “It gives food for thought about what might be possible in another world.”
The researchers discovered the aliens in Mono Lake in California, known for its high PH levels and as a popular French-kissing spot for teens.
Using many scientific terms – or what he called “graphic language” – to describe the new apocalyptic danger, Steven Benner, distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, referred to the “wolf, demon wolf, sheep wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Later, he explained the course of science, and talked about “distrusting experts.”
“Of course, you should distrust me,” he said, ominously.
Wolfe-Simon, the lead scientist, became occasionally bug-eyed as she spoke of her childhood, her leadership of her team, and her desire to reiterate that “this isn’t about arsenic, and this isn’t about Mono Lake, but about” destroying all life on Earth as we knew it. The finding has showed, finally, that "what we think are fixed constants of life are not.”
Caleb Scharf, an astrobiologist at Columbia University who was not part of the research, told the Times that he was amazed. “It’s like if you or I morphed into fully functioning cyborgs after being thrown into a room of electronic scrap with nothing to eat,” he said, shortly before being eaten by an alien.
Mary Voytek, director of NASA’s Astrobiology Program asked Benner about a potential wholesale substitution of humans for aliens.
“Would you imagine replacing your graduate students with microbes?”