The Arsenic Chronicles
A humble arsenic-friendly microbe from Mono Lake, Calif., has recently stirred a tempest in the science world's teapot. Here's the story as it played out over the last two weeks in tweets, blogs and news conferences, of course.
- Nov. 29, 2010. NASA announces a news conference "to discuss an
astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of
- This gets some attention.
- Meanwhile, reporters are calling researchers and space fans are looking forward to the event. Some grumble over Science magazine and NASA keeping the study embargoed from public release.
- Dec. 2, 2010. After several days of complaints, Science magazine releases reporters bound by its embargoes -- where they receive early copies of studies to review with outside researchers in preparation for new stories, in return for promising not to publish the results ahead of a set time -- a little over an hour ahead of NASA's press conference.
- The electronic version of the paper is released by Science and early news reports emerge ahead of NASA's 2 p.m. ET news conference.
- The news conference begins with presentations from the researcher Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA officials, and a skeptical outside researcher, Steve Benner.