• Photosynthesis in the Abyss
    In 1977, scientists discovered thriving communities surrounding deep-sea hydrothermal vents, an environment seemingly without light. The 1989 discovery of an eyeless vent-dwelling shrimp with a novel light detector hinted at some kind of light coming from the vents.
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  • Small World
    A discovery from the early 1990s continues to be controversial today. Are the tiny, mineralized particles called nanobacteria the world's smallest organisms or mere crystal growth? Skeptics remain unconvinced that nanobacteria are alive, but nanobacteria researchers say evidence in their favor is mounting.
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  • Minimalist Life
    Microbiologist Karl Stetter travels the world hunting game, small game. In May, he revealed the discovery of a new archaean, at 400 nanometers so small it rides the surface of another merely normally small archaean.
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  • Surviving the Final Frontier
    Could life on Earth have spread to other planets? Or the other way around? An idea nearly 140 years old is resurfacing in a new form: microbes surviving space travel inside meteorites. Shielded from the intense radiation of the sun, dried out microbes could survive
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  • Stuck in the Muck
    Deep beneath the ocean floor, microorganisms by the billions survive - but just barely. Measurements of the rate at which they carry out life's chemical reactions show that perhaps as few as one in a million is active.
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  • The Tree of Life: Cold Start?
    For decades, scientists have used a comprehensive tree of life showing heat-loving bacteria as the Earth's earliest bacteria. Now, a more accurate reanalysis of the data place those bacteria up among the leaves.
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  • Bacteria: Survival in Siberia
    While Mars experts have gathered evidence of ice on Mars for some time, results in May from the Odyssey spacecraft showed large amounts of subsurface ice. The concept of suspended animation supports the plots of dozens of science fiction books and movies.
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  • Eukaryotic Origins: Revolution in the Classification of Life
    The most recent classification of all life on Earth includes three domains: Archaea, Bacteria (also called Eubacteria) and Eukarya, each of which contains a number of kingdoms.
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  • Europe Heads for Mars
    The Beagle 2, a compact, lightweight lander carried on the European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express, will search for signs of life on the red planet.
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  • Evolution’s Slow Recovery
    The biosphere bounces back from mass extinctions with the origin of new species.
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