Feeds

Antarctic discovery: ALIEN LIFE may be FOUND ON MOON of Jupiter

If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere - microbes

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Boffins reckon the evidence of live microbes deep in the dark, cold, briny depths of Antarctic lakes suggests that life may thrive in similarly hostile environments on other worlds and moons of the solar system - and beyond.

Lake Vida in Antarctica

A zoo-o-boffinry team discovered an ancient colony in Lake Vida, Antarctica, estimated to have been isolated for more than 2,800 years. The amazingly tough Vidan life thrived in minus-13°C brine of more than 20 per cent salinity and swirling with noxious ammonia, nitrogen, sulphur and supersaturated nitrous oxide.

“It’s an extreme environment – the thickest lake ice on the planet, and the coldest, most stable cryo-environment on Earth,” Nathaniel Ostrom, zoologist at Michigan State University, explains.

“The discovery of this ecosystem gives us insight into other isolated, frozen environments on Earth, but it also gives us a potential model for life on other icy planets that harbour saline deposits and subsurface oceans, such as Jupiter’s moon Europa.”

Instead of depending ultimately upon the energy of the Sun like most Earthly life, the alien microbial life in the lake, situated in the northernmost of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, lives on the chemical energy released by hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the water. Such geothermal heat could be present at various far-flung locations in outer space, including the possible sub-icecap lakes or oceans of Europa.

The chemicals that would make life impossible for most creatures on Earth - nitrate, nitrous oxide and hydrogen gas - provide the energy to support the microbial ecosystem, possibly through chemical reactions between anoxic brine and surrounding iron-rich rocks.

“If that’s the case, this gives us an entirely new framework for thinking of how life can be supported in cryoecosystems on earth and in other icy worlds of the universe," says lead boffin Alison Murray of Nevada's Desert Research Institute.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.