New Evidence: Antarctica’s Ancient, Ice-Covered Lake is Full of Life

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. » 7/08/13 11:11am 7/08/13 11:11am

Life has been discovered beneath the Antarctic ice

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… » 2/12/13 2:00pm 2/12/13 2:00pm

Bacteria and fungi living 30,000 feet above the Earth could be…

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… » 1/29/13 8:31am 1/29/13 8:31am

Mars once had water warm enough to sustain life

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 of … » 11/19/12 8:00am 11/19/12 8:00am

NASA: Extreme forms of life can survive on planets with weird orbits

Biologists who study extremophiles know just how tough and resilient life can be. Microbes have been discovered in virtually all four corners of the Earth, including deserts, extreme altitudes, and undersea volcanoes. Insights like these have forced astrobiologists to reconsider the types of environments where life is … » 9/12/12 8:55am 9/12/12 8:55am

Why look for life on Mars when you can make life on Mars?

Biologists who study extremophiles are dramatically expanding our sense of just how amazingly resilient microorganisms can be — insights that have serious implications in our search for extraterrestrial life. At the same time, these hardy microbes are also inspiring synthetic biologists to create their own strains of… » 8/09/12 12:00pm 8/09/12 12:00pm

Methane-exhaling microbes found in undersea volcanoes reset the limits …

As unbelievable as it sounds, it's thought that up to a third of all the Earth's organisms by mass live in rocks and sediments. Suffice to say, we know excruciatingly little about the lives and ecology of these highly inaccessible creatures. But a new study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst is offering an… » 8/07/12 9:45am 8/07/12 9:45am

Scientists have (probably) made contact with Earth's most alien lake!

13,000 feet beneath the surface of Antarctica's vast ice sheet rests the otherworldly Lake Vostok. Home to some of the most extreme conditions on Earth, Vostok has remained isolated from the rest of the world for 20 million years, and completely inaccessible to mankind. Until now. » 2/07/12 8:00am 2/07/12 8:00am

Russian scientists prepare to explore the most alien lake on Earth

Buried over two miles beneath the East Antarctic Ice sheet lurks Lake Vostok — an isolated body of subglacial water, removed from the rest of the world for more than twenty million years. Now, Russian researchers are just a few meters of ice away from entering an environment unlike any we've ever seen... at least, not… » 2/02/12 2:38pm 2/02/12 2:38pm

Uncovering the hidden lake buried two miles beneath Antarctica

There are hundreds of subglacial lakes buried deep beneath the Antarctic ice, each one completely isolated from the rest of the world for hundreds of thousands of years. And now, scientists are preparing to find out just what's down there. » 10/10/11 4:00pm 10/10/11 4:00pm

A heat-resistant worm that can live miles beneath the Earth's surface

Until recently, most scientists believed that only single-celled creatures were capable of enduring life in the hot, high-pressure zone beneath Earth's crust. Now they've discovered tiny worms (pictured above) who live as many as 2.2 miles below ground. What else will we find living deep inside the Earth? » 6/03/11 4:40pm 6/03/11 4:40pm

The world's oldest water may be three kilometers below South Africa

Underneath the gold mines of South Africa's Witwatersrand Basin, scientists have discovered ancient, secluded pockets of water that are also home to some of the most isolated extremophile ecosystems on our planet. » 2/20/11 12:00pm 2/20/11 12:00pm