The Strangest Places Where Life Is Found

Earth is the only astronomical object known to harbor life. It appears that life can be found almost everywhere on Earth, evolving ways of survival including a new discovery of arsenic-eating bacteria — even in the strangest, seemingly unwelcoming places on the planet and off it.

Bubbling tar

Bubbling lakes of hot tar barely seem like they would be able to host living things, but it turns out they are full-out microbial life. Researchers from US Riverside discovered that the bubbles were caused by hardy forms of bacteria embedded in the natural asphalt.

In the world’s largest natural deposit of asphalt, Pitch Lake, located in La Brea in southwest Trinidad, each gram of sticky black goo can harbor up to 10 million tons.

Radioactive waste

While a radiation dose of 10 grays could kill a human being, the bacteria Deinococcus radiodurans can take up to 5,000 grays with no visible outcome and can even endure up to 15,000 grays. It has earned the title of “world’s toughest bacterium” in the Guinness Book of World Records.

It withstands radiation that destroys its genome into hundreds of DNA fragments with the help of multiple copies of its genome.

Clean rooms

Prior to any of NASA’s landing probes set to leave Earth, everything needs to be sterilized properly to make sure nothing gets accidentally contaminated or gets mistaken for alien life.

The probe parts with plasma and radiation are bombarded by NASA scientists and placed in ultra-air-and-water-filtered clean rooms. A diverse range of microbes can still survive and sneak into space regardless of all these precautions.

The dead sea

The Dead Sea pretty much lives up to its name. It is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, making it very hard for most life to survive.

Nevertheless, salt-loving or ‘’halophile’’ microbes can survive even in the forbidding brine.

Frozen in Ice

It appears that microbes can even survive frozen within the ice, even though life cannot survive in lakes buried under ice. In the oldest known ice on Earth in Antarctica, scientists invigorated microbes that had been frozen for millions of years.

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