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extremophiles

Alien Encounters: Earth’s Most Alien Places
Image: NASA

Alien Encounters: Earth’s Most Alien Places

Boiling heat, freezing cold, no light, no water, no oxygen…no problem. Extremophiles are organisms that live in extreme conditions, well adapted to the challenges.

Meet the organisms that push the limits of survival in the most inhospitable places on, under, and above the planet.

Discovery
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Life Forms: Extremophiles

Life Forms: Extremophiles

Learning more about all the different types of extremophiles that exist in ultra-challenging conditions on Earth makes us better prepared to recognize an alien life form if we find one. More...

Article
National Science Foundation
Odd Deep-Sea Creatures Found at Volcanoes, Canyons

Odd Deep-Sea Creatures Found at Volcanoes, Canyons

Bizarre creatures have been discovered living in the extreme conditions around hydrothermal vents. See the "Mickey Mouse" squid, hairy lobster, a fish that looks like a tongue, and more. More...

Images
National Geographic
Tardigrade Facts

Tardigrade Facts

At their biggest, water bears and tardigrades are only 1 millimeter long. Yet, these microscopic invertebrates are hardy creatures — they can survive in tropical rain forests and at -80º C. More...

Article
Illinois Wesleyan University
5 Reasons Why the Tardigrade Is Nature’s Toughest Animal

5 Reasons Why the Tardigrade Is Nature’s Toughest Animal

Known more commonly as "water bears," these small aquatic invertebrates can live in solid ice...and boiling water. Discover what makes them so tough. More...

Article
National Geographic
Microbial Extremes

Microbial Extremes

Many of the world's "extremophiles" are archaea. Understanding life in our most extreme environments may help in the search for life on other planets. More...

Article
Carleton College
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The Lives of Extremophiles

The Lives of Extremophiles

Diana Northup studies extremophiles in caves. What she calls blue goo, slime balls, and snottites may give clues about Earth’s earliest life and the possibility of life in outer space. More...

Profile
NOVA/PBS
Bird, Plane, Bacteria? Microbes Thrive in Storm Clouds

Bird, Plane, Bacteria? Microbes Thrive in Storm Clouds

Bacteria can be found in the most unusual — and inhospitable — places. Even up in the clouds where it’s frigid, dry, and there’s a lot of UV radiation, bacteria have found a home. More...

Article
NPR
Extremophile Hunter

Extremophile Hunter

What is NASA doing looking for life here on Earth? Astrobiologist Richard Hoover searches out extremophiles for study. Find out why. More...

Video
National Science Foundation
Extremophile Matching

Extremophile Matching

Can you match the extremophile to its environment? Look for clues in the organism's name. More...

Interactive
Montana State University
Microbial Life: Yellowstone National Park

Microbial Life: Yellowstone National Park

In the geothermal features of Yellowstone, microscopic thermophiles (heat-loving extremophiles) thrive in superheated waters and other harsh conditions. More...

Article
Carleton College
Organism Sets Record for Extreme Living Conditions

Organism Sets Record for Extreme Living Conditions

It lives in conditions that are hotter, deeper, and older than anything found before. Listen to this podcast about the amazing discovery of a new extremophile. More...

Interactive
Scientific American
Tardigrades: Water Bears in Space

Tardigrades: Water Bears in Space

Meet the first animal to survive exposure to space. This "microscopic cosmonaut" lived through sub temps, solar winds, and the oxygen-deprived space vacuum. More...

Article
BBC
The Blue Planet: Deep Surprises

The Blue Planet: Deep Surprises

Who needs the sun? Not these living creatures. They can live under extreme pressure, in water as hot as 400°C, and with poisonous chemicals. More...

Video
BBC
What Is an Extremophile?

What Is an Extremophile?

Organisms that live in extreme environments have enzymes that can function in harsh conditions. Find out how these could be helpful in products we use. More...

Article
NOAA

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