Topic: Essays

Last updated: January 25, 2019

“Alien Land?” By Andrew Klein wrote on March 27, 2017, focus on organisms that live in extreme circumstances on earth and how alien life could correlate. A microbiologist named Felipe Gómez studies areas of alien-like land in East Africa. He investigations miniature bacteria identified as microbes (extremophiles), Gómez investigates the area is known as the Danakil Depression (Dallol, Ethiopia). Temperatures in Danakil are over 53?C, nearby lakes in the area are extremely acidic. The acidic levels of these lakes are due to the volcanic activity.

Danakil is on a tectonic plate that releases the hot gases under the crust of the earth. “When water mixes with volcanic gases, the ponds become acidic,” a quote by Richard Wunderman (volcanologist). Also, Wunderman affirms that the water recedes into the fissures and combines with sulfur dioxide which diminishes the pH level of the water. Finding that life like the extremophiles exists there shows how an organism can live in such extreme climates and circumstances. The pH levels concerning the water are highly acidic (0-2).

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The water is boiling because of its contact with magma when the water rushes down into the fissures. Through hydrothermal vents, the water is propelled back to the surface at a temperature around 40?C. Gómez examines the region because it is different from the atmosphere that humans live in. The studies involve extremophiles which in long-term can help scientists find life forms on other planets.

Gómez’s team analyzed the conflicted region with militants and, they took samples from the lakes, hydrothermal ventilators, and mineral deposits that contained extremophiles. The extremophiles held ‘pumps’ in ther cell’s membrane to remove the acidic elements to maintain their pH levels. The extremophiles in Danakil had a larger quantity of a kind of protein. This protein defends the cell in high temperatures and radiation climates and situations. This assists scientists to comprehend how an organism can adapt to different climates on different planets. Particularly those with high temperatures, adicity, and radiation.

“Just in the past 10 years, we’ve come to find that there are more and more potentially habitable environments in our solar system,” a quote stated by Linda Billings (consultant to NASA). Billings suggest that the findings in Danakil will help NASA identify planets with comparable characteristics which could harbor alien life forms.


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