Extremophiles, and What They Mean For Life in Space

Pictured is an example of an Extremophile. They are normally found in extreme environments on Earth, but have survived in space, and are opening possibilities of what life in our solar system means. Find out more here!

Extremophiles are organisms on Earth that thrive in extreme environment that most other organisms wouldn’t be able to survive in. They are found in places that at a glance, seem unlivable, places like inside volcanoes, or deep in the ocean under extreme pressures. So why do these extremophiles matter when thinking about space? The idea of biological organisms surviving in intense conditions changes how we think both about the possibility of life in our universe, and life in general. Recently, scientists in Ontario have extracted water samples that they believe to have not been changed in around two billion years. As they examine this water, one of the prime things they will look for is extremophiles, to determine either how something could survive, or trying to determine if there is an “antibiotic line,” or conditions which simply no life can survive. When thinking about extremophiles in space, it’s interesting to see the possibilities. Scientists have exposed extremophiles to the vacuum of space, and they have survived, which was a shocking development, and expands where we think life could be. Different moons on Jupiter and Saturn that previously we might have assumed couldn’t sustain life, we now realize have a higher chance, since it’s been proven that some life can exist even in extreme conditions. Extremophiles are at the cutting edge of how life can exist, and thus have huge implications for what life could look like in our own solar system.

Published by phildowd

I'm a big fan of Pluto!

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