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Published on Jun 1, 2009
Astrobiologist Richard Hoover really goes to extremes to find living things that thrive where life would seem to be impossible - from the glaciers of the Alaskan Arctic to the ice sheets of Antarctica.
These so-called, "extremophiles" are bacteria that have adapted to living in harsh conditions. They were unknown to scientists until just a few years ago. But then researchers started finding these hearty microbes flourishing in unlikely places - like inside the geysers of Yellowstone National Park, and within deep-sea hydrothermal vents, called "black smokers."
Hoover thinks it is even possible that over the course of billions of years, life has spread around the solar system - a sort of cosmic cross pollination. Microbes could live in the ice deep within comets, frozen there for eons until a collision with another planet or moon delivered them to a new home.