Image: Courtesy of NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Image: Courtesy of John Reeve
 FROZEN FLUFF: Using electron beams to drill holes, scientists recovered these extremophiles from Antarctic ice. Brent Christner (above, middle), a graduate student in John Reeve's lab at Ohio State University, collecting ice core samples in Antarctica.

They thrive, not just survive. The microbes live in places such as the Antarctic, where temperatures reach -45°C in the summer; on the ocean floor, in constant 2°C waters; or in boiling hot springs. Aptly dubbed extremophiles, they have numerous scientists asking how, and what, they can learn from these remarkable organisms.

The temperatures and conditions where extremophiles exist mimic environments in outer space, and some scientists are searching to see just what kind of connection, if any, exists between there and here. Other scientists are looking for more earthly connections; can these extremists improve life here on Earth, such as helping...

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