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When Fungi Ruled the World
Topic: Extreme Life
One of the strangest mysteries of the fossil world concerns a tall, cylindrical structure dating to 420 million years ago. Some scientists have called it fungus, others a lichen, still others an alga. A new isotopic analysis has settled the debate, and has helped researchers hone their search for unknown life on other worlds.

Taking the Ocean´s Pulse
Topic: Extreme Life
Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute recently tested a new device, the Environmental Sample Processor, designed to probe the the ocean depths. Astrobiology Magazine Field Research Editor Henry Bortman joined them on a day-long voyage and filed this report on their progress.

Going Deep
Topic: Extreme Life
Very little is known about the microbes that inhabit deep-sea hydrothermal vents, because it is so technically challenging to study them. Chris Scholin of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute plans to take on that challenge, in a project that may some day help scientists search for life on Mars or Europa.

Resisting Radiation
Topic: Extreme Life
To travel among the stars, we must figure out how to survive the harsh radiation of outer space. Studies of radiation-resistant microbes on Earth provide some illuminating insights.

Martian Gardens
Topic: Extreme Life
One day, humans will step foot on Mars. And they'll be hungry. Growing food on a frozen desert planet with a suffocatingly thin atmosphere, however, will be a challenge. Could microbe genes be the answer?

Apollo 12 Remembered
Topic: Extreme Life
This last week marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of the precision landing for Apollo 12. The mission sought to retrieve a camera casing from the robotic Surveyor 3 which had survived three years on the surface. But did biology sneak into their equation? The debate is examined with fresh historical perspective.

The Spillproof Earth
Topic: Extreme Life
Texas A&M University and NASA are teaming up to bring new levels of planetary protection against forward contamination of other worlds from our space probes. The team hopes to sterilize future hardware using a well-known technique called electron beam irradiation.

Nanobes: A New Form of Life?
Topic: Extreme Life
How small can life be? There are natural limits based on the building block size of a cell like the DNA molecule or a protein-synthesizing ribosome. But work published from the Mayo Clinic suggests that living creatures may come in smaller packets than previously imagined.

Archaean Sunscreen
Topic: Extreme Life
Early life may have used sunscreen, allowing it to escape deep water and live relatively high and dry. Any life that may have existed on the surface of Mars also would have needed sunscreen to stand a chance.

Life's Limit
Topic: Extreme Life
Extreme life forms can thrive in harsh conditions of salt, pressure, temperature and pH, but share a common theme of needing liquid water. Dr. Rocco Mancinelli of the SETI Institute describes his fascination with finding what are the environmental limits to life.
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