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The search for extremophiles

Posted on Saturday, November 24 2007 @ 23:06:12 CET by

SCIAM has an interesting article about scientists who are looking for "alien" life on Earth:
How can scientists determine which view is correct? The most direct way is to seek evidence for life on another planet, such as Mars. If life originated from scratch on two planets in a single solar system, it would decisively confirm the hypothesis of biological determinism. Unfortunately, it may be a long time before missions to the Red Planet are sophisticated enough to hunt for Martian life-forms and, if they indeed exist, to study such extraterrestrial biota in detail.

An easier test of biological determinism may be possible, however. No planet is more Earth-like than Earth itself, so if life does emerge readily under terrestrial conditions, then perhaps it formed many times on our home planet. To pursue this tantalizing possibility, scientists have begun searching deserts, lakes and caverns for evidence of “alien” life-forms—organisms that would differ fundamentally from all known living creatures because they arose independently. Most likely, such organisms would be microscopic, so researchers are devising tests to identify exotic microbes that could be living among us.
Read on over here.



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