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‘Worms from hell’ unearth possibilities for extraterrestrial life

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posted on Jun, 2 2011 @ 08:10 AM
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I don't know if this would be the right forum, please move if it isn't.

For the first time, scientists have found complex, multicellular creatures more than a mile below the Earth's surface, increasing the probability of subsurface life on other planets and moons.


Nicknamed “worms from hell,” the nematodes, or roundworms, were found in several gold mines in South Africa, where researchers have also made breakthrough discoveries about deep subterranean single-cell life.

The two lead researchers, Gaetan Borgonie of the University of Ghent in Belgium and Tullis Onstott of Princeton University, said the discovery of creatures so far below ground, with nervous, digestive and reproductive systems, was akin to finding “Moby Dick in Lake Ontario.”


As well as opening up a new branch of biology, it could also have important implications for extraterrestrial research and astrobiology


Scientists seeking life beyond Earth are intrigued by the possibility that microbes could be living below the surface of Mars, in particular — a planet that is now cold, dry and bombarded by harmful radiation but was once much wetter, warmer and better-protected by an atmosphere.

“What we found shows that harsh conditions do not necessarily exclude complexity,” Borgonie said.


He said that if life did originate on Mars and if it had sufficient time to go underground deep enough to survive worsening conditions, “then evolution of Martian life might have continued underground. . . . Life on Mars could be more complex than we imagined.”

‘Worms from hell’ unearth possibilities for extraterrestrial life

Worms from hell identified far below the Earth's surface




posted on Jun, 2 2011 @ 02:28 PM
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reply to post by Griffo
 


I had only heard about extremophiles being microbes. (Very interesting that they can exist in almost any environment). As for these 'worms from hell' and consequent possibilities of alien life, just makes you wonder what could be out there.


www.spaceref.com... - list of environments and examples of extremophiles.



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