A new way to look for signs of ancient life on Earth and Mars Scientists have found that high concentrations of rare elements might be evidence of life near ancient hot springs.

The Mars 2020 mission involves sending a rover, named Perseverance, to Mars to look for evidence of past life on that planet. Perseverance will collect samples of 3 billion year old rocks that scientists on Earth think might contain signs READ MORE

How does life handle the harshness of space? Experiments on the International Space Station showed that lichens, a combination of algae and fungi, survived in space-like, flight, and Mars-like environments.

Experiments on the International Space Station found that lichens, a combination of algae and fungi, survived in space-like, flight, and Mars-like environments.

Strange microbes found living in caves of sulfuric acid Researchers studying a sulfuric acid cave in Italy are among the first to describe organisms found living in gypsum, an acidic mineral deposit found on the cave walls.

Researchers studying a sulfuric acid cave in Italy are among the first to describe organisms found living in gypsum, an acidic mineral deposit found on the cave walls.

A new understanding of weather on Saturn The Cassini spacecraft revealed the atmosphere of Saturn has large regions that don’t cycle to the poles and that the atmosphere is filled with waves that disrupt circulation.

The Cassini spacecraft revealed the atmosphere of Saturn has large regions that don’t cycle to the poles and that the atmosphere is filled with waves that disrupt circulation.

What can sulfur-eating microbes teach us about life in extreme environments? Microbes living in an extreme environment hosted by a rock called serpentinite use a variety of sulfur compounds to gain energy and survive, which has implications for life that might exist elsewhere in our Universe.

Microbes on Earth have adapted to survive in some pretty extreme locations. The extreme dryness of deserts, high salinity in salt deposits, cold temperatures of glaciers, and even high pressures of the deep ocean don’t stop some life forms. Another READ MORE

More than decomposers: fungi influence the recovery of pollutants in the environment Researchers found a hidden selenium cycle tied to manganese oxide minerals made by common soil fungi.

Researchers found a hidden selenium cycle tied to manganese oxide minerals made by common soil fungi.

DNA evidence allowed biologists to identify a new type of bacteria Taxonomy is the system biologists use to name living things. DNA evidence allows us to see how related living things are to one another, verifying (or changing!) the naming system.

Based on new DNA results, the researchers were able to provide better classification of cyanobacteria.

Microbe lasagna tells us about what life was like billions of years ago Layers of bacteria and rock leave their fingerprints behind by changing the kinds of carbon atoms we might find in the environment.

Sort of like a fossilized microbial lasagna, fossils called “stromatolites” are formed when layered communities of different types of bacteria trap sand, dirt, and debris in their structure over time. Stromatolites are found in rocks as old as 3.5 billion years, and containing the planet’s earliest life forms.

Bacteria from the Black Sea Have an Unusual Diet A new species of bacterium was discovered that lives off manganese and sulfur instead of oxygen or carbon dioxide

Many organisms live by breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide, and those that don’t often live by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. However, did you know that these aren’t the only ways life can survive? Researchers recently discovered Sulfurimonas marinigri, a species of bacteria that survives by taking in sulfur and manganese instead of oxygen and carbon. This method of survival has long been theorized, but could never be proven until now.