Bio · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Science

Extremophiles Thrive on Earth’s Scientific Stand-in for Mars

The unimaginably arid conditions of South America’s Atacama Desert have mad it the perfect scientific stand-in for Mars. So in a place that is quite literally almost alien, it makes sense we’d find microbes as strange as these.

Specifically, researchers have found microbes inside some of the region’s volcanoes, which are incredibly dry even by the already ludicrous standards of the Atacama. Fungi and bacteria have been found in the recently collected soil samples, but of greatest interest are the least complex of the organisms, the archaea. Those found in the Atacama volcanoes seem to have evolved a way of converting energy – one of the most basic processes an organism undertakes – in a way unlike any other known species.

Excerpt of an article written by Alasdair Wilkins, at io9. Continue HERE