Pathways to Habitable Worlds
Microbial diversity in extreme environments
To understand the pathways to habitable worlds we need to know all we can about the nature of life. Here on Earth the past two decades have seen a revolution in the understanding of what life really is. On our home world, we are the minority, in fact most of life on the planet is microbial, not only that, but most of it lives in the subsurface - beneath dry land and beneath the ocean beds.
This shocking discovery has raised countless new questions, such as what the actual genetic makeup of these vast microbial populations is ? We have a program designed to seek out an understanding of the genetic diversity of the dominant life forms on this planet. It combines the efforts of microbiologists and geoscientists - who have the tools to drill kilometers into the Earth and bring back samples from the microbial domain.
This is exciting science not only for astrobiology - since it may help us expand where we think life can exist - but also for determining our own origins, and the history of life on Earth.
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