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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


2.19.2004

Bacteria Born Again 

Scientists in New Zealand have succesfully revived an 8 million year old bacteria colony extracted from Antartic ice, suggesting that long ago conditions there were favorable to life. The finding lends credence to the notion that life could have existed on other planets whose climates changed over millenia and now appear dormant.
"If we had discovered they could only survive for 100 years it would be different, but because we've found they survived many millions of years, the chance of finding life on other planets (where the environments have changed) is greater."

"If Antarctica is a reasonable analogue of Mars, then we can learn something about where to look for life and ask if things there are still viable given the conditions we find."

Dr Wilson and his colleagues found the viable bacteria were in greater quantity deep beneath the Antarctic surface, where there was also evidence of the by-products of life including chlorophyll, enzymes and hydrocarbon gases.

On Mars, therefore, it might be more productive to look for similar signs deep beneath the planet's surface, when trying to determine if life existed there.



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