The Earth, right now, is revolving around the sun at about 62,000 miles per hour. But what would happen if we slowed to a stop? At that point, the planet would have exactly 64 1/2 days before it crashed into the sun. In this week’s episode, we find out what would happen during those 64 1/2 days.
For the first time ever, scientists have created a detailed catalogue of color swatches that correspond to nearly 140 known microorganisms, including those that can live in the most extreme environments. Armed with this knowledge, astrobiologists can now scan the atmospheres of distant exoplanets in hopes of finding a…
Against vast whiteness of Antarctica, Blood Falls bleeds a deep dramatic red. The color comes from iron-rich ancient seawater trapped under the ice for 2 million years. For the first time, scientists have been able to take a sample from deep under the ice.
The floor itself is more than 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) beneath the waves. The extremophiles, the deepest ever discovered by a drilling expedition, likely subsist on a low-calorie diet of hydrocarbons and have a low metabolism. The discovery has implications in the search for alien life.
Astrobiologists like to argue about the various parameters required for planetary habitability, but one thing they tend to agree on is that water must be present. A new theory upends this assumption by suggesting that alien life could thrive on "supercritical carbon dioxide" instead.
All around the world, in the cold, people walking near high-altitude rivers and lakes see streaks of vibrant "watermelon snow." This bright pink snow can color deep snow wells, or make cliffs look like they are streaked with blood. Find out what makes snow pink.
Our planet has some pretty intense environments, ranging from dense ice to molten rock — and they all play host to some form of life. What do extremophiles — creatures that live in unimaginable conditions — tell us about the very nature, and limits, of life?
Microbiologists have learned that certain strains of bacteria are capable of using energy in its purest form by eating and breathing electrons. It's a discovery that demonstrates an entirely new mode of life on Earth — and possibly beyond.
There may be as many as 100 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way. But just what, exactly, are the requirements for life? And what are the environmental extremes that life can handle? A new checklist for the habitability of exoplanets attempts to answer these questions.
Extremophiles teach us that life is found in unlikely places, which is why scientists are trying to expand our definition of what a habitable environment is. This ancient Martian volcano could be a prime example.
Scientists have learned that a common parasite of sea turtles is capable of surviving ridiculously cold temperatures — a finding that could lead to the development of advanced cryopreservation techniques.
Scientists have discovered a microbe that – to their knowledge – can be found just two places on Earth. The first: a spacecraft clean room in Guiana. The second: a spacecraft clean room in Florida, some 2,500 miles away.
A new study offers evidence that Antartica's Lake Vostok harbors its own unique ecosystem of life forms, despite being buried under two miles of ice for the past 15 million years. This is good news for scientists who are looking for life on other worlds.
Earlier this year, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson made an appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast to talk black holes, multiverses, and extremophiles. So, naturally, someone mixed the interview audio into a funky rap about the Universe.
Marine biologists have discovered a vibrant community of ecologically important microbes living at the bottom of the 7 mile (11 km) Mariana Trench — the deepest part of the Earth's surface.
There is life in Lake Whillans. For millions of years, this small body of liquid water has lurked hundreds of meters below Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, sealed off from the outside world and the scientists who would explore its subglacial depths. Now, in a monumental first, a team of researchers led by Montana State…
Microorganisms have been found in virtually every corner of the Earth, from deep sea volcanoes to the tops of frozen mountains. They've also been discovered high up in the atmosphere — but scientists haven't been entirely sure as to nature and extent of these elusive high-altitude organisms. Now, new research suggests…
Antarctica's Lake Vida has been sealed beneath the ice for 2,800 years. Its depths have become a concentrated briny brew, freezing cold, and shrouded completely in darkness. And now, researchers have just shown that it has a thriving bacterial ecosystem.
We know that Mars once had lots of water, considered a prerequisite for habitability. What hasn't been known, however, is just how friendly — or unfriendly — this water might have been to life, as the temperature and chemical conditions of ancient Martian water has remained a complete mystery. But as a new analysis…
At io9, we love extremophiles, the litte creatures which can survive and thrive in the most insane conditions our planet has to offer. A new study has shown that even when two extremophiles are very closely related, they can handle toxic conditions in very different ways.