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SCI/TECH: Thawed 30,000 Year Old Germ May Point to Life on Mars

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posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 02:55 PM
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A tunnelling operation five years ago in the town of Fox, Alaska revealed something surprising - a type of bacteria that hasn't been seen on Earth since the Pleistocene Age. Not only were a significant number of these microscopic organisms discovered as workers bored through Alaksa's perrmafrost, but on thawing the samples, the Carnobacterium pleistocenium reanimated and began swimming around immediately. The reanimation of these organisms may point to a higher likelihood of life existing on Mars. Recent evidence from the red planet indicates that liquid water once flowed on its now-barren surface and that a large frozen body of water lies near its equator.
 



www.cnn.com
He discovered the bacterium near the town of Fox, Alaska, in a tunnel drilled through permafrost -- a mix of permanently frozen ice, soil and rock -- that is kept at a constant temperature of 24.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 4 degrees Celcius).

"When they cut into the Fox tunnel, they actually cut through Pleistocene ice wedges, which are similar to structures that we see on Mars," Hoover said in a telephone interview.

The ice wedges contained a golden-brown layer about a half-yard (half-meter) thick, and this layer contained a group of microscopic brownish bacteria, Hoover said.

When he looked at a small sample of this bacteria-laden ice under a microscope, Hoover said, "These bacteria that had just thawed out of the ice ... were swimming around. The instant the ice melted, they started swimming. They were alive ... but they had been frozen for over 30,000 years."


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Liquid water is considered a necessity for any sort of life to exist. The recently discovered Martian sea is theorized to receive enough heat from the sun that its frozen state is periodically warmed below the surface to the degree that basic lifeforms could flourish.

With the evidence of Carnobacterium pleistocenium's ability to lie in suspended animation while frozen, scientists now speculate that similar organisms may lie waiting beneath the frozen surface of Mars.

"The other thing that's exciting: Just like we found in the Fox tunnel of Alaska, frozen biology in the form of unicellular bacteria might even have remained alive, frozen in the Martian sea," said NASA scientist Richard Hoover.


Related News Links:
www.newscientist.com
msnbc.msn.com




posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 03:12 PM
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Hey, didn't we see this on an episode of "X-Files"?


Life is tough, tougher than many of us give it credit. And when the going gets tough, the tough wait to thaw out a few million years later.

Does this organism have any effect on plants or mammals?



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 03:15 PM
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Good find Banshee
30000 year old reanimated bacteria. That in itself sounds alien to me



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 03:19 PM
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This very good, I wonder sometimes about how long certain organisms can survived frozen but also what kind of nasty surprised we may find if our Arctic caps melt.

I remember on TV that spores can also live dormant for long periods of time in extreme weather.



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 04:58 PM
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Ok just one question. Is it possible for life NOT to exist on Mars? I mean what are the chances? There is probably some sort of bacteria on Jupiter too right even though its being burnt to a crisp? lol



posted on Feb, 28 2005 @ 10:19 AM
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I found this story extremely interesting. In a way, it begs the question, what in the world have we found. With the bacteria being ancient, could ancient parasites also be able to be reanimated? Of course that could even lead to "more" mysterious diseases appearing that we have no cure for.
Excellent story though.



posted on Feb, 28 2005 @ 10:28 AM
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In a way, it begs the question, what in the world have we found. With the bacteria being ancient, could ancient parasites also be able to be reanimated? Of course that could even lead to "more" mysterious diseases appearing that we have no cure for.


My thoughts exactly. Very interesting find just don't shake the petri dish. Bacteria frozen for that length of time springs to life after thaw one could bet these boogers are pretty hungry.



posted on Feb, 28 2005 @ 12:12 PM
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Originally posted by cheshire cat
Of course that could even lead to "more" mysterious diseases appearing that we have no cure for.
Excellent story though.

that is what i thought of first too.
great, they found a 30.000 years "germ" and now its ALIVE!

great find tho!


[edit on 28-2-2005 by Souljah]



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