For astrobiologist Luke McKay, the question of whether life exists on other planets begins at the microbial communities thriving in America’s hot springs. It’s at hostile environments like these where extremophiles, to the bewilderment of scientists, are able to survive on our planet where all other life can’t.
“What I do is, I go to these extreme environments and I look at microbial relatives of ancient life. The early Earth did not have oxygen—we’re talking four billion years ago, when life developed on Earth,” explains McKay. In episode four of The Most Unknown, psychologist Axel Cleeremans joins Luke McKay to search for Earth analogues of probable extraterrestrial life at Nevada’s Great Boiling Spring.
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