The hunt for extraterrestrial life begins in the most extreme places of the Earth

Microbiologist Jill Mikucki went to Antarctica last year for a special mission: she was looking for signs of what life could look like on other planets and moons. His work is part of an effort to understand the origins of life – not just in our world, but in the solar system – by examining organisms that thrive in the most extreme environments of the Earth.

In a salty and ferrous glacial waterfall known as Blood Falls, his team had previously discovered a new strain of bacteria adapted to survive in extremely cold weather. The landscape…

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