inspiring space exploration
For hundreds of years humans have been debating the possibility of extraterrestrials, and more recently we’ve started looking for signs of life on other planets. Extremophiles – especially those able to live with more than one extreme factor in their environment – live in parts of the planet most like the harsh landscapes found elsewhere in the galaxy and give scientists an idea of what extraterrestrial organisms might look. The study of Earth’s toughest deepwater creatures to help predict what we might one day meet in a dark corner of space was even the focus of a James Cameron film called Aliens of the Deep. Species of extremophile have been discovered in dark and oxygen-deprived subterranean ecosystems in recent years, expanding the area of a Solar System that could be suitable for hosting life and widening the search for proof that we’re not alone in the universe.