Microbes Can Survive in Saltier Water than Previously Believed

Scientists exploring brine ponds in California.
The Oceans Across Space and Time research team collected brine from South Bay Salt Works during an initial field trip in 2019. (Image credit: Anne Dekas)

On Earth, it seems to be true that life will find a way; in the deepest ocean, the saltiest ocean or the highest mountain, live seems to find a way to get a foothold. One of the key ingredients for life seems to be the necessity for water. Until now, it was thought that there was a limit to the level of salinity within which life could thrive. A team of biologists have found bacterial life thrives in salty ponds where the water evaporates leaving high levels of salt. This only serves to expand the likely envrionments across the Universe that life could evolve. 

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Seriously, Life Really Does Get Around. It was Found in Rocks Deep Beneath the Seafloor

Map showing the underwater topography (bathymetry) of the ocean floor. Like land terrain, the ocean floor has ridges, valleys, plains and volcanoes. Image Credit: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=617528

After a lot of hard work spanning many years, a team of scientists have discovered something surprising. They’ve found abundant bacterial life in tiny cracks in undersea volcanic rock in the Earth’s crust. The bacteria are thriving in clay deposits inside these tiny cracks.

This discovery is generating new excitement around the hope of finding life on Mars.

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