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Lecture 3 - Astro/Geo 160 Spring 2011 Class#3 26 January...

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Astro/Geo 160 Spring 2011 Class #3 – 26 January 2011
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Lecture 2 Highlights Three ways that terrestrial knowledge informs the possibility for extraterrestrial life (Figure 1.3 in text): Evidence that organic molecules form easily and naturally Evidence that life appeared early in the history of Earth Evidence that life on Earth can survive under a wide range of conditions Ample evidence is available that life on Earth can survive under a wide range of conditions McKay and colleagues ( Science , 2003) took advantage of the chiral nature of biological molecules on Earth to explore whether or not life was active in the Atacama desert; results proved that presence of some water is an absolute requirement for active biological metabolism Other research in the Atacama has revealed that living organisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi) can survive in a condition of “suspended animation” (e.g. as spores) in the absence of sufficient water for active metabolism
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Lecture 2 Highlights Almost all true extremophiles are Prokaryotes from either the Bacterial or Archaeal domains of life Each class of extremophile represents a unique evolutionary adaptation to survive a particular type of stress.
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