Friday, November 13, 2009

If I Can Make It There, I Can Make It Anywhere...

Smithsonian Magazine’s Top Ten Places Where Life Shouldn't Exist... But Does.

Granted you’d have to be a microbe of some kind to survive in most of these places. But what I really like is how pretty much any place - a lake of acid, a sulphurous sea vent – can be a home to something.

One especially amazing point:

More recently, scientists have resuscitated bacteria that have been on ice for millions of years. The bacteria were in suspended animation in the oldest ice on Earth, in a valley in Antarctica. Those a million or so years old revived relatively easily, and some of the oldest ones, which were covered in ice 8 million years ago, also showed signs of life.

How do these bacteria achieve this kind of suspended animation? What is it in their genetic makeup that enables them to do so?