Microscopic tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are the toughest animals on the planet, capable of withstanding intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of space. In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that tardigrades are poised to survive literally anything that nature throws at…
Tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are probably the toughest microscopic creatures on the planet, capable of surviving freezing, radiation, and even the vacuum of space. They’re also able to withstand complete dehydration—and scientists have finally figured out how they do it.
In an experiment conducted on the International Space Station, two different types of naturally-occurring algae were exposed to the extreme conditions of space. Incredibly, both strains survived. It’s a finding that could further our understanding of how life originated on Earth, and how colonists might be able to…
Tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are microscopic animals capable of withstanding some of the most severe environmental conditions. Researchers from Japan have now created the most accurate picture yet of the tardigrade genome, revealing the neat tricks it uses to stay alive.
The strikingly beautiful Saharan silver ant is capable of withstanding some of the most extreme temperatures on the planet. New research shows that their silver sheen serves as a heat-repellent system, reflecting incoming sunlight like a prism.
In 2010 a group of scientists announced that they’d found evidence of multi-cellular life in hyper-salty, oxygen-free pools at the bottom of the ocean. A new study indicates that what they thought were living animals were actually corpses taken over by bacterial “body-snatchers.”
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.