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The Human Extreme
Topic: Extreme Life
Most scientists never think of extremophiles as higher organisms like humans, but deciphering what Greek antiquity considered a noble extreme--the marathon race--suggests that what one organism can survive may not be entirely dependent on the traditional environmental pressures.

Pristine Polar Lakes
Topic: Extreme Life
Aircraft surveys over the world's last unexplored biological frontier, Lake Vostok, have revealed twin sub-basins. Not only is the polar lake isolated from contamination from open air, but also may harbor two ecosystems that do not share water flows.

Detecting Single Biomolecules
Topic: Extreme Life
Teasing out a single biomolecule from a stark martian landscape may seem impossible. But even a trace of one of life's building blocks, RNA enzymes or ribozymes, can be analyzed in quantities too small to see or handle without special techniques that make them glow under fluorescent light.

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.

Expanding the Genetic Code
Topic: Extreme Life
Life as we know it depends on the action of 20 protein building blocks, or amino acids. By adding a few new candidates, scientists hope to find out why certain organisms may be able to depart ever so slightly from the great Tree of Life.

Lava Life
Topic: Extreme Life
Studying samples of pillow lava taken from the Mesoarchean Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa, scientists have found mineralized tubes that were formed in the pillow lava, suggesting microbes colonized basaltic glass of the early oceanic crust, much in the same way as they do modern volcanic glass.

Dry Limit of Life
Topic: Extreme Life
Among the triad of biological limits to life on Mars--cold, thin air and dryness--a new study in the driest place on Earth reveals a remarkably sterile crucible for testing instruments that might one day answer questions about microbial life on other planets.

Hilo: Living in a Volcanic Rock
Topic: Extreme Life
A mile beneath the porous rock near Hawaii's Hilo volcano, scientists have found an extreme environment that shows bacterial life. Although difficult to estimate, from thirty to seventy percent of the earth's biomass may be subterranean.

Drilling Vostok with Radar
Topic: Extreme Life
Radar images of small movements of the earth's surface are offering scientists unique glimpses of otherwise inaccessible places. One target for orbital radar is Lake Vostok, the mysterious, fresh-water lake deep underneath the Antarctic ice sheet.

It's A Cold Cruel Life
Topic: Extreme Life
A microbe that exists in the coldest temperatures on Earth might provide clues about how a similar organism could survive beneath the Martian polar ice caps. In Siberian permafrost, the bacteria, named Psychrobacter cryopegella, can grow at -10 Celsius and can stay alive and even keep metabolizing at an astonishing -20 Celsius.

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