Planets

Can Bacteria on Earth Help Us Find Alien Life?

Researchers have found organisms that are able to survive the most extreme conditions on Earth. What can this tell us about life in space?

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The Hunt for Alien Extremophiles is Taking Off (Space.com)
"The Earth's most extreme microbes, including bacteria that eat radioactive metals, tolerate lethal doses of radiation and thrive in the planet's driest desert, are fascinating in their own right. But it is what they are teaching scientists about how to hunt for life on other worlds that may be their most important legacy."

The Microbial World and the Case for Mars (Research Gate)
"On Earth, life has developed strategies to cope with the so-called extreme conditions, such as hot vents, permafrost, permanent ice, subsurface regions, high atmosphere, rocks or salt crystals. By analogy with terrestrial extremophile communities, potential protected niches have been postulated for Mars, such as sulfur-rich sub-surface areas for chemoautotrophic communities, rocks for endolithic communities, permafrost regions, hydrothermal vents, soil, or evaporite crystals."

Bacteria Grow Under 400,000 Times Earth's Gravity (National Geographic)
"Proving that you don't have to be big to be tough, some microbes can survive gravity more than 400,000 times that felt on Earth, a new study says. Most humans, by contrast, can tolerate forces equal to about three to five times Earth's surface gravity (g) before losing consciousness."