This can be a night view from an alien world in another planetary system. The panoramic image displays the bizarre view of Mono Lake in California, famous for its stunning exposed tufa towers; limestone formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals in water. In the background sky the Summer Milky Way approached the western horizon on the left side. The three brighter stars on this side forms the Summer Triangle where star Deneb at the top of the Northern Cross and the North America Nebula mark the triangle’s upper corner. In the middle the faint autumn constellation are spread out over the south. On the right side winter stars in Orion, Gemini and Taurus rise over the east. The reflected image of Orion in the lake shows the diversity of star colors in this constellation, from the red-orange Betelgeuse in the Orion’s shoulder to white-blue Rigel in the Hunter’s knee.

Mono Lake has no outlet and dissolved salts make the lake very alkaline and salty. But the lake has an unusually productive ecosystem. The lake is known world-wide for hosting a strange bacteria which is capable of incorporating the usually poisonous element arsenic into its biochemistry. This alien-like bacteria is the first discovered life-form that uses arsenic to make its DNA and proteins. It is a promising evidence that life might exist elsewhere in the universe, even in environments that biologists once wouldn’t have imagined.



comments (1)

  • ts Reply

    thought provoking
    Thank you for sharing

    May 15, 2013 at 7:35 am

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