Special thanks to Darlene Lim of NASA’s Ames Research Centre, Mike Malaska of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Jill McDermott of Lehigh University, Kevin Raskoff of Monterey Peninsula College and Samantha Trumbo of Caltech for contributing their expertise to this comic.
Conventional DNA is comprised of the familiar A, C, G and T base pairs, but a newly created genetic system is packed with eight, thus doubling the number of letters normally found in self-replicating molecules. Intriguingly, the new system, dubbed “hachimoji”, could resemble the building blocks of extraterrestrial life.
Venus, with its crushing atmospheric pressure and scorching surface temperatures, seems an unlikely place for life to take hold. But while the surface of this planet remains completely inhospitable, Venus’ atmosphere may be capable of harbouring microbial life, according to new research.