Earth is filled with incredibly strange creatures, from thermophiles like the one seen here that can survive in temperatures up to 121 degress Celsius to the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans
that thrives in 2000 times more ionising radiation than would fry a human. New Scientist features a survey of ten "extremophiles." The headline is a bit off though, reading: "The most extreme-life forms in the universe." Of course, studying these unusual organisms could give scientists insight into what life might exist on other planets, but all of the creatures in this article are found right here at home. From New Scientist:
There's hardly a niche on Earth that hasn't been colonised. Life can be found in scalding, acidic hot pools, in the driest deserts, and in the dark, crushing depths of the ocean. It has even found a toehold in the frigid polar regions and in toxic dumps.
"Life on Earth has radiated into every conceivable – and in some cases almost inconceivable – ecological niche," says Chris Impey of the University of Arizona in Tucson, US.
The very existence of these hardy organisms hints that life might be able to eke out an existence in the cold, dry climate of Mars, the icy, acidic conditions of Jupiter's moon Europa, or in countless other spots beyond our solar system.
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