The Phoenix Mars Lander got its hands on some Martian water yesterday. One of the scientists sure to be celebrating is astrobiologist Chris McKay. Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe. Driven by a dream of sending astronauts to Mars, McKay searches for survival clues among the harsh and peculiar environments on Earth. Deserts and really cold places are his research locations of choice. Pamela S. Turner takes us to his various research projects in Chile, Siberia, the Sahara and, especially, Antarctica and offers a glimpse into the life of microbes that would put the toughest Survivor champions to shame. For example, desert cyanobacteria get energy from the sun, but they live on the underside of thin rocks and can get enough sun through the thin rocks and be protected from the extreme heat. Links to the growing body of knowledge about the planet Mars are made throughout the book. Life on Earth- and Beyond is an interesting look at life, survival and evolution on both planets.
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Life on Earth- and Beyond: An Astrobiologist’s Quest
by Andrea on July 31st, 2008