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Life in a Lava Tube
Topic: Extreme Life
10/25/04
Most people think of underground caves as beautiful and benign environments. Their colorful stalactites and stalagmites draw throngs of tourists each year. But some of the caves that Penny Boston explores are so poisonous to humans that she has to wear a full biosuit to enter them. To her, caves are laboratories for studying unusual forms of life on Earth, and hold important clues to finding life on other planets.

Erasing Life's Letters
Topic: Extreme Life
10/21/04
Given a stable genome like the well-studied mouse, how does one systematically go about testing or modifying it? The large amount of junk DNA indicates that very aggressive edits still do not change a mouse into a non-mouse by fractional modifications.

New Signs of Polar Life
Topic: Extreme Life
09/23/04
Finding moss and lichen colonies in Antarctica depends on weathering not only the cold, but also extremes of dryness. On ninety-nine percent of the Poles, no vegetation can grow. But scientists with the British Antarctic Survey have found a remarkably robust colony of plants photosynthesizing from a rocky haven.

Ring of Life
Topic: Extreme Life
09/12/04
Molecular biologists have uprooted a traditional perspective on life's ancient ancestry, if their supplanted tree-of-life metaphor is modified to look more like a ring-of-life.

Unsung Species Co-Endangered
Topic: Extreme Life
09/12/04
Extinction of a species is not just a permanent loss of biological diversity, but may have ripple effects as co-dependent species suffer from the absence of what may be linked predator-prey relatsionships.

Deception Point
Topic: Extreme Life
09/06/04
Bestselling author, Dan Brown, has concocted a tale for astrobiologists called "Deception Point". But how can one separate facts from fiction? Consider the scientific possibilities of dissecting a meteorite full of insect-like fossils.

Whale of a Species
Topic: Extreme Life
08/06/04
One finds alien looking species in deep sea niches, but few could have imagined a whale-eating worm with neither mouth nor eyes. When a whale dies, this species comes to life. Even more remarkable is the female gestates her own reproductive partners-- by engulfing a dozen or so immature males alive.

The Spillproof Earth
Topic: Extreme Life
07/27/04
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.

Living Deep
Topic: Extreme Life
07/27/04
Nearly three miles below the ocean surface waits a relatively unexplored and unexploited frontier. The Scripps Institute is tracking large animals that live at this depth, as they test the hypothesis that this unique ecosystem has entered a phase of starvation and food shortages.

Ocean Extreme Shows Its Spine
Topic: Extreme Life
07/23/04
While scientists speculate on the requirements of life elsewhere, the diversity of terrestrial species continue to surprise. The latest addition to the marine census includes the smallest creature with a backbone.

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