DailyDirt: Life, Life Everywhere
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Evidence of life hasn’t been found outside of our planet (yet?), but life seems to be getting into nearly every nook and cranny of our dear Earth. Places that seem too cold or hot or dark have been shown to harbor life forms that survive in unusual ways, eating substances that aren’t normally considered food. Here are just a few examples of these extremophiles that suggest life might exist on other worlds, even if the conditions don’t seem ideal.
- Astronauts have actually discovered a new species of life… while training in an underground cave. The astronauts were taking a week-long ESA CAVES underground training course to prepare for duties on the international space station and to acclimate to working under extreme conditions, and they found a new kind of crustacean. [url]
- An ecosystem exists in the deepest layer of the Earth’s ocean crust, in the gabbroic layer, living off hydrocarbons such as methane and benzene. This discovery could mean there may be life even deeper, possibly in the Earth’s mantle. [url]
- Microbes isolated beneath 65 feet of Antarctic ice might define a new limit for life to survive. These little organisms live in Lake Vida without much sunlight, without oxygen, at -13°C, in acidic salt water. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.
Filed Under: astronauts, biology, ecosystem, extremophiles, lake vida, life, microbes
Comments on “DailyDirt: Life, Life Everywhere”
all these examples are downward...
how about some microbes that live in the clouds?
One word: Tardigrade
How do they know it’s a new species, rather than simply a previously undiscovered one?
The Deep Hot Biosphere
All these pictures have a strong anthrocentric view about life and where it can exist. Just because humans cannot exist in such conditions, it is generally assumed not other life form can.
Thomas Gold’s book The Deep, Hot Biosphere gives an entirely different picture about life on earth and also on formation of “fossil fuels”.
From abstract of his article of same title
“There are strong indications that microbial life is widespread at depth in the crust of the Earth, just as such life has been identified in numerous ocean vents. This life is not dependent on solar energy and photosynthesis for its primary energy supply, and it is essentially independent of the surface circumstances. Its energy supply comes from chemical sources, due to fluids that migrate upward from deeper levels in the Earth. In mass and volume it may be comparable with all surface life….
Subsurface life may be widespread among the planetary bodies of our solar system, since many of them have equally suitable conditions below, while having totally inhospitable surfaces. One may even speculate that such life may be widely disseminated in the universe, since planetary type bodies with similar subsurface conditions may be common as solitary objects in space, as well as in other solar-type systems.”