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The Hunt for Alien Life Starts in Earth's Most Extreme Places


Researchers collecting samples at Blood Falls in Antarctica.

Scientists are using advanced technology to explore extreme environments like Antarctica, in order to examine the resilient microorganisms that live there, in the hope of applying any breakthroughs to the search for extraterrestrial life.

Credit: Ricardo Garza-Giron

Scientists are using advanced technology to explore extreme environments like Antarctica, to seek out and examine resilient microorganisms in the hope of applying any breakthroughs to the search for extraterrestrial life.

One project involves using a remotely operated vehicle and an ice drill, which may lead to prototype tools to help robot probes explore the icy Jovian moon Europa.

Montana State University's John Priscu said such robots will need to drill through more than 10 miles of ice without contaminating the environment.

The Georgia Institute of Technology's Britney Schmidt led another team which deployed a torpedo-shaped robot called Icefin beneath the ice of an Antarctic glacier.

Icefin used cameras and sensors to take measurements to better understand the underwater ecosystem, as well as the dynamic interactions between the continent's ice and ocean.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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