• October 6th, 2018


Paper , Order, or Assignment Requirements

Astrobiologyis the study of the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the Universe.” (Bordenstein, serc.carlton.edu/microbelife/extreme/astrobiology/index.html) Astromicrobiology focuses on understanding the requirements and limitations of microbial life and applying it to the search for life outside our planet.

Microorganisms are complex, varied, continuously evolving, and often found in surprising environments. We see microbial life in the most extreme habitats: it is near volcanic sea vents in the ocean floor, in ice cores in the Arctic, and in the Dead Sea. High salt concentrations, low or high pressures, lack of oxygen, scarcity of water, high radiation, and lack of food are all problems that microorganisms have found clever ways to handle in order to survive- sometimes dormant- for millennia.

Your challenge is to write a 2-3page (500-750 words) paperdiscussing the requirements for microbial life in the universe. Consider evidence from earth and decide what conditions you think are needed for microbial life to exist elsewhere. How extreme are the extremophiles? What kind of metabolic diversity do we see? How diverse is life, really?Use detailed descriptions of useful examples to support your hypotheses.

Obviously, there are a number of characteristics that are important, but let’s assume that the life we are hoping to find on another plant, or comet, etc. is somewhat recognizable to us… meaning please don’t write a paper about the possible sentient abilities of a rock.

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