The possibility of strange forms of alien life seems to have just got a whole lot closer to home. Astrobiologists from Arizona State University, Florida, UC Boulder, NASA, Harvard and Australia have recently theorized about a “shadow biosphere” – a biosphere within a biosphere where alternative biochemistry may be thriving in a way that we haven’t yet thought to examine. Such “weird life” may have had, for hundreds of millions of years, their own ecologies right here in our own backyard. Indeed, like Dark Energy and neutrinos, “weird life” may be all around us even now, only in a non-obvious way. Some astrobiologists are now suggesting that “weird life” is just as likely to be found here on Earth as it is in the Martian regolith, the seas of Europa , or certainly the complex bio-hadronistry on the surface of a neutron star.
Biology Blog: Scientists predict the possibility of shadow biosphere
February 25, 2010 at 4:05 am
Not unlike what have been called extremophiles: living things that do what living things aren’t supposed to be able to do. Such as…
– live for 30,000 years in a salt crystal.
– live in cosmic radiation in a vacuum.
– live in a hyper-salinated, below freezing environment devoid of oxygen.
– live in acid containing heavy metals.
More of my links on extremophiles here. I’m convinced that the challenge is going to remain finding any place on earth where there is no life.
February 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm
I thought I’d posted on extremophiles more here, but this is the only reference: http://technoccult.net/archives/2004/02/03/the-extremophile-gold-rush/
I think, however, they’re talking about things not easily recognized as “life,” but these things may also qualify as extremophiles.
Also interesting: The Deep Hot Biosphere – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Gold#The_Deep_Hot_Biosphere