Press Release

Research on “extremophiles” is redefining the limits of life on Earth

By SpaceRef Editor
April 28, 2007
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Research on “extremophiles” is redefining the limits of life on Earth
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On Wednesday, April 25, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Web site will debut a new, fully illustrated, multimedia Special Report describing research on strange organisms that can live in ferocious extremes of cold, heat, pressure, acidity and more.

Titled “X-treme Microbes,” the report focuses on the recent discovery of creatures that dwell in solid rock two miles deep in the Earth and survive by “eating” the breakdown products of radioactivity. In addition, the Special Report provides a pictorial overview of what science now knows about other kinds of organisms — called “extremophiles” — that are redefining the limits of life on Earth and forcing scientists to reconsider the probability of life on other worlds.

An illustrated overview of research on extremophile organisms

Illustrated with dozens of photographs of these remarkable creatures and their surroundings, the Special Report also contains vividly descriptive animations of microbial living conditions, and a video sequence showing how scientists journeyed to the bottom of a deep gold mine in South Africa in search of the “radioactivity-eating” microbes.

The report provides numerous links to other Web-based resources and can serve as a reference for reporters and editors seeking information and graphics on this subject. Like all of NSF’s Special Reports, “X-treme Microbes” will be updated and expanded as new discoveries occur.

Media Contacts

Dana Topousis, National Science Foundation (703) 292-7750 dtopousi@nsf.gov

Related Websites

X-treme Microbes Special Report: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/microbes

Link to NSF’s X-treme Microbes on your home page: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/microbes/linktous.jsp

SpaceRef staff editor.