Bacteria 'good bet' for alien life
This bacterial cell resembles the single-celled organisms found in 86-million-year-old sediment.
May 17th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Bacteria 'good bet' for alien life

Forget the bug-eyed green aliens with advanced technology. Life on other planets may exist in forms too tiny to see, if mysterious tiny organisms like those found under our oceans live elsewhere.

Scientists have discovered bacteria living in 86 million-year-old red clay under the ocean floor, cut off from sunlight and all other life, that may be subsisting on the minimum bit of energy required to sustain life. They use up oxygen extremely slowly, and are still recycling material that fell from the ocean's surface millions of years ago.

"If you wanted to look for life for another planet, I think this is a really good bet," said Hans Røy, biologist at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark. Røy is the lead author of a new study about the bacteria that appears in the journal Science.

Røy and colleagues found the microscopic organisms about 30 meters (100 feet) below the ocean floor in the northern Pacific Ocean. Most of the genes from the bacteria don't look like anything we know on the surface.

"The paper is really fascinating, because the first time you really have a sense of the respiration rates for these buried microbial communities, you can speculate more about how long can these cut-off communities actually last, and how fast can they grow, how old can they get," says Antje Boetius of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, who was not involved in Røy's study.

The bacteria have been sitting in 86 million-year-old sediment mostly dead algae, small crustaceans, and dust - making the environment essentially an 86 million-year-old experiment. And you can't watch them grow - that'd be like staring at a tree waiting for it to get taller, Røy said.

"We don’t know if they’re just the remnants of those who were once at the surface and are just not dying," Røy said. "It seems like they are adapted to the environment where they live."

But it's hard to believe that the bacteria themselves are 86 million years old. Boetius estimates, given the respiration rate that Røy found, this particular group is up to 500 years old. But that's not proven, and it's still mysterious how they are getting and using such minimal energy.

There are other single-celled organisms found beneath the seafloor that appear to live for about 1,000 years before dividing. By contrast, E. coli bacteria - the pathogen found in spoiled food - reproduce about every 20 minutes.

To give you a sense of what sediment buildup means, think of the dust in your apartment or bedroom. If you never vacuumed, the dust layer would grow. If you assume a certain dust settling rate, you could calculate the time it would take to fill the entire space with dust.

"The seafloor is nothing but an accumulation of dust from the overlying seawater," says Boetius.

About 90% of the single-celled organisms on Earth live below the seafloor.

"They have no clue that we are around," Røy said of the bacteria his group studied. "They have no contacts with the surface anymore, and they just apparently keep on living for a very long time on the inside of our planet."

Similar bacteria could theoretically be buried on other celestial worlds, he said. If a planet once had life or some other energy sources, microorganisms could be cut off from the surface but still be living a long time, Boetius said.

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Filed under: Ocean exploration • On Earth
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Flyttefirma

    Magnificent site. Plenty of useful information here. I'm sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you for your sweat!

    August 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  2. Manuel

    Plastic is appropriate for meats and fish. Primarily becsaue you can clean plastic with a sanitizer product or dishwasher between usages. Wood should not be cleaned with anything other than soap and water,should only be cleaned by hand and needs to be throughly towel dried and set on side for best drying conditions.

    July 1, 2012 at 3:56 am |
  3. Daniel

    I am an alien, and I can most certainly tell you; we have been watching you for a long time.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • athensGuy

      can I have a spaceship with dual A/C zone control?

      May 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • MassiveMarbles

      Man: The defective benevolent bio-weapon.

      July 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  4. MassiveMarbles

    Life is an expression of design actively pursuing its own course without knowing its true meaning. It is everything ingredient within the cosmic soup.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Birch please

      Or it could be the universe (which could be on of many) just playing itself out with no ego fulfilling "meaning"

      June 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • MassiveMarbles

        I don't believe there is an ego, just an awareness that I T IS ... without the peer pressure.

        July 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  5. Origins

    I see a lot of people debate the design of life and the random possibility of life emerging, but it's funny that the debate always rotates around something we refer to as the 'base' of life, but cells aren't exactly the base, they're just what we are used to. There's no denying that cells are complicated in their function, a little too complicated to just happen in nature. However, something less complicated that is also alive could have eventually formed or became cells. Just look at viruses, they are a type of life that are not cells... who says that they are the smallest form of life? they could be a larger part of another level of life that we don;t even consider. I think the true origins start much smaller than what we would even consider. Especially if we want to go even further back to the 'fire is the most simplistic form of life' debate, since it falls perfectly into the food chain and is a starting point for all other forms of life.

    Just things to think about.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Scott

      You are correct, but it depends on your definition of life. Most scientists do not consider viruses alive because they only contain DNA or RNA, but not both. However, that is life specific to Earth. Extraterrestrial organisms may work in a completely different manner (plastic polymer chains instead of DNA proteins, for example), so our definition has to be limited to something that takes in raw material to produce energy internally, and bacteria are pretty much the smallest and most prevalent form that does so.

      Interesting fact: if you took all of the bacteria out of your body, and put it in a pile next to what was left of your body, the bacteria pile would weigh more!

      May 21, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Farscape

      >a little too complicated to just happen in nature

      All evidence to the contrary. However if you have actually evidence of an intelligent design...please wow the scientific community.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • junjunjun233

        >>>All evidence to the contrary. However if you have actually evidence of an intelligent design...please wow the scientific community.
        We have genetically engineered goat. cow, chicken and pigs. We also have DNA engineered salmons not to mention DNA chips and not bound to any natural or undirected constraints. So there you go. If your basis for ID is just a mere fat creationist attempt think again. Its not nature but our will change those.

        July 1, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  6. Cobra6

    I'm an atheist who trusts the science behind evolution, but to be honest, Roccop777 is winning this running argument and doing it with class. I don't agree with what he's saying, but the "scientific" atheists sound like third graders with their arrogant put-downs and throw-away cliches. Roccop777, I think you're ideas are misguided, but my hat is off to you, sir. I wish more proponents of both intelligent design, and evolution, could carry on a civil and coherent debate like you can.

    May 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • jim

      Well said. I am also a believer in science and evolution (I am an MD, actually), and I just cannot understand why some think that believing in evolutiion must preclude believing in a creator or intelligent design.
      Evolution happened. The evidence is too overwhelming for anyone with an education to deny. But so what? To me, the incredible mystery is why there is anything. Why is there something instead of nothing. Modern quantum mechanics is showing us that all the particle we have discoveret that make up everything dont have an abolute existance- they only have a probablility of existing, and assume absolute reality only when they are obsereved. There is a very real scientific basis (and belief among many physicists) that if nothing is observing, for example, the moon at a given instant IT DOES NOT EXIST! That is mind boggling.
      So take it a step further- what if there was no life, no consiousness- nothing to observe or contemplate anything. Anywhere in the universe. Would the universe then exist? Seems to me existance itelf is depenent on consiousness, life, and I dont see how that could happen by random chance.
      Moreover, randam chance may have determined the laws of phyics we observe- but what random chance says that an incredibly complex arrangement of uncountable numbers of particles arrannged in a specific way ( a human brain, for example) results in consiousness, thought, vision, hearing, morality, and all the other wonderful things that happen? There is no reason for it to be that way, yet it is. i am a scientist who marvels daily at the incredible universe we find ourselves in . And I firmly believe there is something far far greater than we are even capable of understanding behind it- a creator, if you want to call it that. And I also firmly believe in evolution.

      May 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • decredico

      Don't be silly. He isn't winning anything as it is not a contest. How much a fan of SE Cupp are you anyway?

      May 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
      • Cuddles

        He never said roccop777 was winning anything. He simply said roccop777 was in the position of "winning" the argument going on, as the majority of those supporting evolution talking with such arrogance and lack any reason behind their ideals. And responses like yours are what Cobra6 is talking about.

        May 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
      • Farscape


        <but to be honest, Roccop777 is winning this

        June 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Oh, nonsense.

      Just because someone has an opinion doesn't mean that opinion has any objective value or that it should be treated with respect. If his argument was the people of a certain color were divinely ordained to be the servants of people of another color, you would never pipe up and claim that "civility" was warranted.
      It is because we are so careful not to tread on the toes of stupid people that shysters and crooks such as astrologers and "psychics" are allowed to rip people off, and hand-wavy mysticism disguised as "science" (e.g., crystals, homeopathy, and other such balderdash) is allowed to flourish.
      This is no different. Intelligent design is a load of garbage, and should be treated with undisguised contempt.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  7. Josh

    While life may adapted to survive in rather extreme or hostile environments here on Earth, it did not start there. Life needs some rather perfect conditions to start, and so far, we have never found anywhere in the known universe where such conditions exist.

    Just look at the Earth itself. There is only one tree of life here. If life was easy, there would be at least two, if not dozens of completely independent trees of life here based on different.molecules and chemistry.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Mohareb

      Actually, there probably have been other self-replicating molecules besides DNA/RNA, but we do not see them because DNA/RNA out-competed them for resources, and drove them all extinct.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  8. MathProf

    Any rebuttal/agreement with the "Noah's Lion" dilemma?

    May 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • roccop777

      I checked through all the comments here and didn't find a presentation of the "Noah's Lion Dilemma" you referred to. Lay it out and I'll be glad to respond to it.

      I tried to submit a reply to your question, but for some reason this blog will not allow it to be posted.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • roccop777

      In return, I have a question for you - if the account of a worldwide flood is just a myth made up following a local flood occurring around the Black Sea, as many contend - then how can you explain that scores of varied cultures scattered all over the globe - from Siberia to Australia, from isolated tribes in the Amazons, to American Indians in North America as well as ancient cultures in Egypt, Mesopotamia and China - all have accounts of a worldwide flood embedded into their history?

      May 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • Jim McTeigue

        Because flooding on a regional scale happens frequently across the globe and prehistoric peoples simply didn't know there was anything bigger than their local region?

        May 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
      • decredico

        Water at one time covered more of the planet than it does now. As it is, 70%% of the surface is water anyway.

        May 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
      • Cuddles

        @Jim There's one thing that your response does not address: the fact that cultures in elevated areas and away from large bodies of water mention flooding in their history (for example, Siberia).

        May 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
      • doughnuts

        Because glaciers melted all over the world 14,000 years ago. Coastal people had to migrate. The stories became part of their oral record. Play "telephone" with the stories over a few millenia, and they get changed.

        This is how everything in the Old Testament got in the form it was before it was finally written down.

        May 21, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • Farscape

        You pose a question with expectation of a specific answer. First you have to exam your own question. Namely that according to your own story said cultures would have been wiped out and unable to signs of said global flood in their cultures. Then perhaps they are decedents of the ark. Why then do their cultures predate the flood?

        June 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    it's funny how people think they know everything about the universe saying were the only life forms in it, only a redneck would say only humans exist, MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!;)

    May 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Nary

      watched this 2 weeks ago and it was AMAZING, my first proper west end show, and its not going to be my last, abtlulseoy LOVED IT , wish i could have seen it with idina mazel, and chenowerth, but the cast were awesome

      July 1, 2012 at 4:51 am |
  10. peyote

    Bringing an 86 million year old bacteria strain up from the ocean so close to 12/21/12. Sounds like someone wants to get the zombie apocalypse started early

    May 20, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  11. snookboy

    Guy's, please let me safe you all a bunch of grief. Check out-Dr. Steven Greer

    May 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  12. alien believer

    I think we can observe the extremophiles on this planet to learn about alien existence. There are many organisms on earth that can survive without oxygen or are able to grow in in extreme temps. Aliens don't need to be found on earthlike planets. Oh yeah and the universe is infinite.

    May 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  13. Wastrel

    I think that life is everywhere in the universe where the minimal requirements for it exist - i.e. some kind of dissolving medium for life's chemistry to work, some kind of energy source, and a variety of elements to manufacture reproducing structures. The places where we do not find life will be lacking one of these, or one of them will be in such short supply that life simply hasn't evolved there yet.

    May 19, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • roccop777

      In case you didn't know, countless labratory experiments have been run with all the factors you mentioned available in all possible variations some of the most brilliant scientists can conceive - and guess what - not in a single case has life arisen. I would say if we are going to bescientific, we should accept what the empirical evidence demonstrates, regardless of our ideological views.

      May 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
      • Yossarian

        You clearly misunderstand the intent of those experiments.

        May 20, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • Dave

        Lemme guess, you are using this fallacious reasoning as 'proof' that there is no life without your imaginary friend in the sky?

        May 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
      • roccop777

        To Dave - true to form, you appear only able to produce one sentence blurbs - and seem to think that is "grown-up" talk and scientific.
        Since empirical scientific facts contradict life arising on its own from lifeless matter, then we should be open to other possible explanations. There is overwhelming evidence which show that the complex organisation and systematic ordering of matter does not happen via random, undirected processes. The only source for this is intelligence. Therefore it is very logical to point to an intelligent source which predates life and our material universe - namely a Creator. The most respected patriarchs of science: Kepler, Copernicus, Newton, Faraday, Pascal, Lord Kelvin, Max Planck, Max Born, to just name a few, readily attributed the source of life and our universe to an intelligent Creator. In fact Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal wrote more books about our relationship to the Creator than they did about their specific fields of physics and mathematics. So what is your problem with allowing this as a possibilty?

        May 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • accartclub

        This took all of 3 seconds to sort out. Just search for "scientists make life in lab". A well written post full of inaccurate information does not change the reality of the situation. Just like the juvenile attacks supported by good scholarship are no less accurate because of the authors demeanor. I apologize for any grammatical errors; English is not my primary langue.

        May 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  14. roccop777

    I'm happy that this evolution believing scientist is honest enough to admit that the concept that life spontaneouly arising via undirected processes from lifeless chemicals on other planets (on this earth as well) is not a scientific fact, or foregone conclusion as many seem to think - but a "bet" a "crap shoot" based on pure luck. Please quit calling it "scientific facts"
    Louis Pasteur, the patriarch of modern biochemistry stated: "Spontaneous generation (abigenesis - life arising on its own from lifeless matter) is an illusion." I recently had a conversation with one of Germany's top bichemists and he admitted that the newest discoveries made since Pasteur's day just confirm the validity of his statement.
    If someone wants to believe in "almighty chance" or "almighty bet" - then go ahead. I for my part see the amazing complexity and design of life as overwhleming evidence, that life is not the result of undirected processes, but directed and purposeful - no matter where it can be found!

    May 19, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • Meh

      I, for one, am glad to misrepresent what the author wrote in order to further the dogmas that I cling to out of ignorance and fear, dogmas that were ultimately forced upon me by previous generations of recklessly inept champions of cerebral lassitude.

      May 19, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Sciguy73

      Sorry, until you get an education, and get a clue about how the world really works, you're not qualified to share an opinon.

      May 19, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • grvol

      If you believe in God like some morons do, then you too have to accept spontaneous generation as a fact. If there's an almighty God he had to have spontaneously generated to exist. I think the spontaneous generation of life (something that can actually be observed unlike man's imagination) is the best bet by far.

      May 19, 2012 at 11:44 am |
      • roccop777

        I'm calling your bluff! - Name me the one single case where spontaneous generation (abiogenesis) has been observed. I have spoken with one of Germany's top biochemists who told me it has never been observed. I have had a discussion with another biochemist who was a co-recipient of a Noble prize for synthesizing the B12 vitamin - and he can give no example where abiogenesis has been observed as you claim. It's such scientifically misinformed people like you who keep the illusion of spontaneous generation afloat.
        Since God is eternal, was never generated or created, he didn't need spontaneous generation to come into existence.
        Where is your proof that people who believe in the existence of God are morons. If so you have just classified Kepler, Copernicus, Pascal, Max Planck, Newton, Lord Kelvin, Faraday, Pasteur, Sir Francis Bacon - to just name a few - as morons!

        May 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
      • Yossarian

        Actually, you've only revealed yourself to be a moron, roccop777.

        May 20, 2012 at 10:07 am |
      • roccop777

        To Yossarian– is that all you can do is write one sentence name-calling quips? You think that is to carry on a scientific discussion? You claim I am not aquainted with the "Miller-Urey" experiment, which was supposed to demonstrate how life arises from lifeless chemicals with a bolt of electricity. And what did they get? a racemic mixture of a few amino acids which could not even form the simplest of proteins–which is still an an eternity away from the simplest life form. One of your fellow believers in evolution claimed life was produced in that experiment - and all you can do is mock me for pointing that out? The rest of you reading this, listen: this is the type of willful ignorance which fuels the theory of evolution (including chemical evolution - abiogenesis).

        May 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
      • Dave

        Robocop, please go play with your imaginary friend in the sky for a while, grown ups are trying to talk

        May 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • Yossarian

        One-sentence quips are the proper response to your uninformed troll posts, roccop777.

        May 21, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Maya

      No one who believes in evolution believes that evolutionary processes are undirected. They are SELF-directed. Also, evolution doesn't even TOUCH the origin of life, only of the development of it. It doesn't need to, given that scientists have already proven it is possible to create life from electricity and non-living material, which doesn't actually contradict Pasteur. Maybe you should try reading a book instead of just repeating things you read on the internet which you obviously do not understand.

      If you accept the idea of God, you have to accept the idea of spontaneous creation. Where did God come from?

      May 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Didinium

      Stop misrepresenting Pasteur's experiment and in the process debasing a great scientist.

      May 20, 2012 at 6:52 am |
      • roccop777

        Will you (or can you) explain how I am "misrepresenting Pasteur's experiment"? I didn't even mention an experiment performed by Pasteur, much less misrepresent it! I simply quoted Pasteur's own assessment of what conclusion his research had led him to. Again, he stated: "spontaneous generation (life arising on it's own from lifeless matter) is an Illusion". In his writings he clearly attributed the origin of life to a Creator. Anyone who denies that Pasteur held this position is misrepresenting him. You can disprove me by providing one quote from Pasteur to the contrary. Unfortunately believers in evolution seem only able to provide one sentence mockery quips and no evidence to back up their position!

        May 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Paul

      You are probably not aware of Prigogine's work on non-equilibrium thermodynamic systems. The creation of complexity from disorder is thermodynamically favored in systems in which energy (and I think matter also) can enter and leave (i.e.: they are not at equilibrium). The creation of life from chemicals is apparently inevitable given the age of the universe. And, it's likely to have occurred many times already. Even if man hasn't been able to do it yet thermodynamics predicts that it will happen. There is no rational need to have a superhuman intelligence involved. If you need to believe in a superhuman intelligence please accept that that belief is a matter of faith (i.e.: it's not rational).

      May 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
      • roccop777

        I am very well aware of Prigogine's concept on non-equilibrium thermodynamic systems (an open system as opposed to a closed system), but his argument is very flawed in providing an answer to the problem of overall entropy and is useless in faciliating aboigenesis. The great French scientist and mathematician, Emil Borel, / A.B. Pippard,former professor of Physics at Cambridge, /Granville Sewell from the University of Texas, to name just a few, have taken Prigogine to task and blown his concept out of the water. The dilemma of the 2nd law of thermodynamics in regards to abiogenesis has been no means been solved as you mistakenly think. Actually it has been found that an undirected (without an organizing mechanism) influx of energy from somewhere else does not counter entropy, but actually speeds it up! For instance if a tornado rushes through a junkyard of rusting, deteriorating cars it doesn't offset entropy, on the contrary it speeds it up - because the energy of this tornado is undirected. Only energy plus intelligent application /information can compensate for entropy. Denying a Creator, leaves you without this intelligent organizing force.

        May 21, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • accartclub

      While you post are well written they offer no evidence to support your views. Instead you tell us about other people’s opinions that for the most part cannot be verified and then use their professional credentials to add validity to your own opinions. This is a very religious approach to the scientific process. I apologize for the grammar; English is not my first language.

      May 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Ario Cataldi

      The problem Sir, is that people like you are already married with your type of argument and will not consider any posibility of life arising from pure, random but thermodinamically promoted reactions and that is why you people are not taken seriously but only reading everything in the internet that goes agaisnt your "believes" to use philosofical arguments to reject other scientific posibilities.By the way, I believe in God!.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  15. Grant

    Enough of all this crap. Let's call the avengers.

    May 19, 2012 at 5:20 am |
  16. MassiveMarbles

    This bacteria is there for a reason. Let's just leave it where it is – oh, too late! Enjoy the calm before the storm folks. There are many laboratories out there poking noses where they don't belong. These are the exact same reasons for mysterious fires in the middle of nowhere. A US government sanctioned science experiment gone wrong!

    May 18, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  17. Phange

    "They use up oxygen extremely slowly"

    You mean not at all – they're anaerobes.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Fred Magyar

      Phange, sorry, that is incorrect. There is no life without oxidation-reduction reactions. That means that even strict anaerobes must use some oxygen, however miniscule an amount in order for their cells to be able to oxidize the fuel that allows them to do work and stay alive. Biochemistry is not exempt from the laws of thermodynamics.

      May 20, 2012 at 8:26 am |
      • Phage1

        Fred, while it's true redox must take place in bacterial metabolism, not all anaerobes use oxygen as the final electron acceptor. Anaerobic extremophiles such as those found near vents on the ocean floor utilize sulphur in the same manner that aerobes use oxygen. It's thought that the first living oganisms on earth were sulphur metabolizing out of necessity, since the O2 content of the atmosphere was neglible for the first 2 billion years after the earth's formation.

        May 20, 2012 at 8:55 am |
      • Phage1

        negligible oops

        May 20, 2012 at 8:59 am |
      • Paul

        Sorry, not correct. Obligate anaerobes cannot live in the presence of oxygen. The oxidation reduction reactions you mention chemistry that does not require oxygen.

        May 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  18. Fed Up

    I'm sure that this data costs millions in tax dollars too. Why is common sense so uncommon? (And expensive!)

    May 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • beechwood1

      So, how do you determine what should be studied ? If we a had ourselves a good ol dictator, I guess we/HE would randomly make that call huh. Some people just study to much Math, Music, biology, the stars, animals, cells... If we had ourselves a grand ol dictator, he could make sure we don't waste time and money on ridiulous stuff depending on who he liked, dislioked, and who bored him and what he was secretly told about people from his intelligence staff...

      May 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
      • Fed Up

        I couldn't understand a single thing you've written. Either you don't know how to spell-check, or you're drunk. What kind of democracy do you think we live in? (Oh, never mind – that's a question for someone with an I.Q. over 100.)

        May 19, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Maya

      Science is one of the only things worth spending tax dollars on. If you were intelligent, as you apparently think you are, you would understand that.

      May 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  19. SoulCatcher

    Oh I thought this was about Klingons around Uranus.

    May 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  20. Goku

    I thought that planet was destroyed. This is in-"saiyan"

    May 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  21. Meh

    I don't get this 'Find Alien Life' Craze. Haven't they learnt anything from Hollywood?

    May 18, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  22. mad scientist


    May 18, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • what?


      May 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • Greg

        Yeah, I'm much more interested in the fact that they have "HERE AMONG US" than the longevity thing. Is that some sort of third eye?!?!?!??!!!

        May 18, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • Hamzat

        I really REALLY wanna c it again but i just wish they woulf repeon the show in San Francisco!! New York lets it run 4ever but u cant find a show anywhere in California! Cnt wait 2 b able 2 do it with my high school or college or whenever it comes available 2 rent on MTI or sumtin I dnt care wat it takes! I will b in Wicked!! Mwahahaha!!!

        July 1, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • snookboy

      You go dude, none of these people have a clue, if you saw what I saw last night, you'd still be cleaning out your pants. Universal peace. Hope your enjoying life in the USA.

      May 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  23. TF

    None of this matters. The world is ending this year anyways.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Alan


      May 19, 2012 at 7:03 am |
      • Shekh

        Mr. Smith I'm a journalist who has been rrnsaechieg the practice of Mr. Trivedi for over two months. My exploration started with theMaterials Research Lab at Penn State, founded by the late Rustum Roy. To my knowledge this is the only credited lab in the United Staes not only to have tested Mr, Trivedi but to have reviewed the studies iin other countries, purported by Trivedi to validate his claims.The lab inextensive testing discredited all his claims for abilites of materials transformation. The conclusions of that study: Summary of Research on Mahendra Kumar Trivedi was published on May 31, 2011. I'd like to share it with you. Its author, an associate of Dr. Roy, has been threatened with defamation of character charges and had her computer hacked. This is an ongoing story that extends well beyond the spurious science still fundamental in Mr. Trivedi's growing practice.Please provide your email address so that I may attach the study or, you and your audience are directed to a newly developed website that has focused initially on the acitivities of Mr. Trivedi.The site is named It is being created by former Trivedi employees.

        September 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  24. mema

    Maybe if they didnt know we were here, we should have kept it that way!! Maybe them being buried all this time is why were still here. Too late now they know we are here. What have they done! We are all doomed now!?

    May 18, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  25. Mr. Bacteria

    Man you guys are deep.

    May 18, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  26. Alicephage

    Well that is certainly a pretty cool find, if its true. (since i dont see any links to actual papers)

    However i dont think that microbiological life on other planets has to use oxygene. Most bacteria are anaerobes which means that they dont use oxygene at all, in fact its toxic for them. But still this bacteria is a pretty slow grower. I guess its because of the limited resources. A bacteria that multiplies like nuts would just use up all the resources and then die off.

    A slowgrower like this takes into account the influx of resources. So i would not say that its a remnent of the past. The bacteria is as modern as we are, however they have adepted to live in a hostile enviroment.

    May 18, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  27. Conanofthekuiperbelt

    If you intelligent(?) life forms on planet earth do not start believing in us exterrestial microbes we will come down to your crappy planet and destroy your cities, drain your oceans, and eat all your blueberry ice-cream. That should prove that there really is life elsewhere in the universe.

    May 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  28. Geff Gordon

    Most people would agree that the world is a hostile place. In our fear of each other we spend for war while children starve.
    But somehow, we put it together that ET life will be good and beneficial. We have sent probes in to space which describe our planet, people and our technology. And just to be sure our would be guests don't get lost, we included precise directions on how to get here.
    Any ET that could read the universal salutation could also have the means to travel here. Would they be friendly and beneficial or would they be looking to harvest our resources?

    May 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  29. randoid1234

    What if bacteria comes from other planets...AND DISCOVERS US!?!?!?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • HighBoy

      Woooww... truth, man, truth. Or what if we are under a celestial ocean floor–unaware of the water above us...think about it. Hey, have you seen the back of a dollar bill?

      May 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
      • izzyezzo

        or or or... what if we are some kind of bacteria to a bigger body like maybe the planet... and then one day the planet is just going to cleanse it self some how just like we take antibiotics to get better.... ha,,, weird!!!!

        May 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Marc

      What if...we're even more insignificant? What if we are the protein for a giant strand of celia on a cosmic ameoba?....or...well...(raises eyebrow)...what if we are the pinnacle of life in the universe? Would it be arrogant to assume We are the largest and best? We've already assumed we're the smallest and're right. We're protein!

      May 18, 2012 at 5:24 am |
      • Absurd

        Marc, that's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard.Amoebae don't have cilia!

        May 19, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  30. GodlessOpera

    It would actually be a negative thing if we find microbial life on Mars. To fully understand why, just google or wiki "Fermi's Paradox." Essentially, there must be some explanation for why - despite there being ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way alone - we don't find other intelligent extraterrestrial life.

    One such explanation is that despite planets being commonplace, life could in fact be extremely rare. However, if we find that life is actually common throughout the solar system (and ostensibly the galaxy), then it must mean that there is some *other* explanation for the lack of contact. The reason why this is a negative thing is because if life is common yet intelligent life is not, one explanation for this is that for some reason intelligent life dies out before it can make contact with other intelligent life - either by its own hands, by using its resources before it can replenish them, by natural disaster, or whatever.

    Essentially, there is a lack of other intelligent life that we're able to see. There must be a filter such that intelligent extraterrestrial life is rare (possibly unique) or deliberately remains hidden. If we DON'T find life on Mars, then we can breathe easy because that means the "filter" might be something like "any sort of life at all is extremely rare," which means that we've already safely passed the filter. However, if we DO find life on Mars, that means the explanatory filter is somewhere ahead of us - that we haven't faced it yet, whatever it is that prevents intelligent life from being prevalent in the cosmos - and that would be a bad thing.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Pepinium

      Very interesting hypothesis Godless, however, when you consider that, even the radio waves we started generating approximately100 years ago could not have been detected and answered by any civilization located more that about 50 light years away from us, and that only a extremely tiny fraction of the stars and galaxies that we see are within this range, it is absolutely way, way too early to attribute the lack of a response to anything else other than the immensity of space. I understand there are plenty of people out there ready to support the idea of our "uniqueness", but at this point, the lack of evidence for the existence of other advanced civilizations is perfectly explainable. Now, if lets say, 10,000 years from now we are still in this situation, then your argument will seem more plausible. Interesting discussion though.

      May 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Brain Hertz

      That would only be true if we found the remains of an advanced civilization on Mars. If all we find is bacteria, it would be consistent with the filter being between single celled life and an advanced civilization, that is, we'd still have good reason to think we were already past it.

      May 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Andy in Oz

      Of course it may be that life is relatively rare and Earth may be the only place in the solar system where it exists.... but the galaxy we find ourself in is immensely huge not to mention the known universe. If we take the approximate of 400 billion stars in this galaxy alone and say that life on planets is as the saying goes a 1 in a million shot then there still would be 400,000 places in our galaxy alone where it could have sprung up. Of course their is a myriad of reasons why contact may not have been made but for me it is just as likely it is the vast distances that signals would need to travel (let alone trying to accomplish interstellar travel to come visit). But it is also possible that disease (look at the effect of the 1918 flu pandemic), environmental change (global warming.... look at Venus as an example), outside Earth influence (seems the dinosaurs did not cope really well with a relatively small chunk of rock hitting the Earth) or even history (look at how close the world came to the possible nuclear brink in the Cold War) all conspire...... But that does not mean at all that the galaxy and the universe itself is not teeming with life. We are just a tiny microcosm, a VERY small droplet in the ocean or if you like living on the equivalent of a single grain of sand on the beach...... I think it quite vain to not believe there are other grains out there with life on them, it is just hard to call up the guys living on a grain of sand at the other end of the beach on the phone.

      May 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Sciguy73

      Or maybe cosmic distances are just too vast and timescales too long for use to have any possible chance of hearing from alien life? Not to mention, why in the world would they want to talk to us? Have you seen the average intelligence displayed on these forums?

      May 19, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Maya

      A lack of intelligent life we are able to see does not equal a lack of intelligent life. That is very poor inductive reasoning, given that we can only see a small fraction of the universe and the only way intelligent species in different systems or galaxies could possibly meet each other is if one of them figured out how to travel many times faster than the speed of light.

      May 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  31. Prediction

    Since (matter is neither created nor destroyed and that life evolution is a cycle. It will always be just us in another form.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  32. Portland tony

    Reading this led me to a question! Why are bacteria so friggin' small in relation to other life forms? Is it possible for the simple organisms to grow to say the size of a dog or cat?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Jason

      Or size of humans, over millions of years? Oh wait...

      May 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Sean A

      The reason bacteria are so small is because they are unicellular. A single cell can never grow as large as a dog or cat due to inherent issues between volume, surface area, and the organisms ability to transfer material with its environment. The bigger a cell is, proportionally the less surface area it will have, decreasing its ability to exchange material. This is why the larger organisms on earth are multicellular. Each small cell maintains an optimum surface area to volume ratio, maximizing material transfer efficiency, but also work together to form a larger organism.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Jason

      Why is bacteria so small? Because it takes a lot less energy and regulation to maintain a single cell the size of a few microns than a giant bubble the size of a few hundred microns or a collection of thousands, millions, or billions of cells. How is it possible that those tiny lifeforms managed to merge to form larger organisms? Easy, different types of cells just get together and cooperate or have the the same type of cells develop in different ways so that they end up doing different things which is what zygotic cells do.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
      • Prediction

        Sorry, did not look before I commented.

        May 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Prediction

      Small is relative to what you compare it to.
      Small life forms are simple. One cell may do all the things it needs to live.
      Complex life requires many cells doing different things and requires increased size.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • elandau

      Thanks for this interesting discussion!

      Elizabeth Landau, CNN

      May 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  33. MyTake

    What would be most interesting is life of this kind on Mars.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  34. Very Strange

    The bacteria "have no clue that we are around"!?

    Gee, I hope this study didn't cost a lot of money.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • voxx

      They have no clue that we are around... Kind of like some people have no clue that God is around..

      May 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • Pepinium

        Reply, fact is, you have no clue either, since a clue implies causality and all you really have, like it or not, is faith. Leave your theology for other places, here we are talking science and logical thinking. Hope you don't feel threatened by the fact that some people don't need to believe in fairy tales to consider the wonders of the universe. Maybe you should expand your reading beyond the "One" Book, :).

        May 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
      • Ken

        True God is all around us

        May 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
      • Alverant

        Which god are you talking about?

        May 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      @Voxx, comparing us to God? Tsk, tsk...

      May 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  35. sonic10158

    It is a fossil of a Prothean soldier, left after the Reaper attack

    May 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  36. Kate

    The repoglicans will probably hate them too because they are tiny

    May 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • sonic10158

      can't tell if trolling or just plain stupid...

      May 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Chris

      Bacteria aren't mentioned in the Bible. Therefore Republicans don't believe in them.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • dudley0415

      16 comments for someone to mention God, 22 for someone to mention politics.

      May 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  37. Freddo

    Or maybe it will be really, really BIG bacteria. And really, really GREEN. Armed with rectal probes, and arriving in flying petri dishes.

    Prove that it's impossible. Go ahead.

    Next up ... conspiracy theorists on why they don't have to prove we never landed on the moon. Just because they believe it was a hoax.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  38. rs

    So if there are complex organisms for aliens (like intelligent dudes and gals from another planet) then there has to be a whole ecosystem of life all the way down to a bacteria. They would have "alien" dogs and elephants and worms and all the other stuff. Its not just like there are alien beings that sprung out of nowhere. So Jeez, what a stupid article overall. So if there is any alien life of any kind there has to be bacteria supporting the whole web above it.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  39. Brian

    A few years ago I saw and article where an official in the Vatican said that if we find intelligent life on other planets we should send Jesuits there to convert them into Catholics because Catholicism is the True Religion.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Maya

      I guess they'd have to do some creative editing of the Bible, given that the Bible mentions only humans.

      May 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  40. Amazing

    I just find it funny that a microscopic bacteria MAY exist elsewhere and it is called "life"; yet a human embryo actively growing with it's own DNA, blood supply and heartbeat inside its mother's womb is called "tissue". What irony that our society has become so ignorant yet thinks it is so smart!

    May 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • arbinshire


      It is ironic. Those that think they're intelligent post their drivel trying to convince others of their relative ignorance, aren't really all that intelligent after all.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • rs

        Hey, careful there....

        Those of you who think you know everything are really annoying to those of us that do.

        May 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Mike

      Nice segue there into a right-to-life comment on a Science board. Pointless, but well done.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • I'm The Best

      Up until that fetus can live outside the mother without help it's essentially a tumor in the mother. It's not life unless it can live without the mother. If you think otherwise then I as.sume that you also think that a skin cell is life and any time you lose one of those that's murder as well. It needs you to live, has it's own system inside it that keeps it alive as long as there is blood flow to it. It's no different.

      It's amazing what people will justify in their mind to make them think they're right.... Plus, you probably don't have a problem killing a bug or something, and that life has already grown and isn't a parasite (usually).

      May 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • boarddog

        Nice analogy & reply!

        May 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • apostate

        The right to life argument, carried to its logical conclusion, would criminalize masturbation which could be considered "killing" a potential human.

        May 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • tank

      Bacteria is called life because its sole existence is not dependent on another bacterium. It is self sufficient. It is not raised, fed, or its butt wiped. Bacteria replicate to become self sufficient from the very onset. A human embyro has neither of these features. You incorrectly state that an embyro has its own blood supply. Granted, many organ systems begin to form blood products on their own but this takes time and while it is forming itself, its oxygen and waste are taken care of by the mothers blood supply. Why do you think prenatal care is so important? You suggest that our society as being less than smart. I agree with you. Just look at your comments and your lack of knowledge about the living world around us. Go read a book.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • rs

        Yea, like I said above to another poster, you sure know something. By your (lack of) logic, a baby after birth should be abortable.

        May 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • Jason

        Actually, by your definition, the only things that are alive are the single celled organisms capable of producing glucose since all heterotrophic organisms need other organisms to produce our nutrients for us.

        May 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Adam

      You've got a faulty comparison there...

      May 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • rcflyer8410

      I know you never read your bible, and you are in good company when posting on jesus sites, where most people lack any common sense or ability to objectively analyze data and evidence (since logic, common sense, and reason aren't valid among religious discussion). However, before posting on a science board, you may actually want to spend a few minutes understanding a topic before posting and looking like a complete moron.
      Nobody ever disputed whether or not it was life – the dispute has to do with stages of development and at which point these cells become human, able to feel pain, able to exist on their own outside the womb, etc, and why these developing cells and tissue should override a woman's right to choose. If you take antibiotics and kill millions of bacteria, you probably wont go to jail or have the religious nut jobs attacking you.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
      • Steve O

        Dang it! You beat me to the antibiotics analogy!

        May 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
      • Adam

        Practical Ethics is a book that tackles this subject as well. The author tries to identify when a fetus becomes a ""moral person".. sounds wacky, but it's a good read.. to complicated to explain here.

        May 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Adam

      hold on.. I'm reading two different perspectives in this chain. By saying that none of us know squat - are you implying there is a third perspective here?? Do tell...

      May 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Steve O

      I guess by that same reasoning, taking antibiotics is mass murder.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
      • boarddog


        May 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Stop the antibiotics

      OMG, you are exactly right. That bacterium is a real life. We must stop using any form of antibiotics, immediately. We are killing living beings and that cannot be tolerated!!!!! A life is a life and it must be protected regardless of the costs, right?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • Adam

        not if they kill me...

        May 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
      • rcflyer8410

        Good point – to state it from a religious standpoint, those bacteria may have a soul. And who knows, maybe they were created in gods image! Perhaps that is why we find no evidence of god anywhere – he is actually a microscopic bacteria!
        As this is obviously sarcasm, this theory is actually just as plausible as the one our religious nut jobs present! Both are presented without any evidence, basis in fact, or reason! I kind of like this religious stuff – I can pull stuff out of my %#^ and it becomes real just because I said it! Now that was easy!

        May 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Doc

      I'll concede that any single-celled organism growing inside my body is just as much alive as any other. Does that mean that antibiotics are murder?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Tony

      An embryo is "life", I doubt anybody would suggest otherwise. But so is a tumor, a virus, a bacteria, my appendix, a gallblader, etc... And therein lies the distinction.

      Or are you suggesting that we should instantly outlaw appendectomy because it removes living tissue?

      May 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • mema

        Thats a ridiculous compairison. An embryo if left to develop will form a fully life sustaining person.(In most instances) However the other living tissue you mention do not have that prospect and some can/do cause harm or death of living tissues. An embryo contains dna and a blueprint for developing a unique person. Eye color, hair color, height, physical attributes etc...Not the case with the tissues you mention. A difference that makes this comparison completely idiological!

        May 18, 2012 at 4:24 am |
      • Maya

        What an embryo has the potential to be is logically irrelevant. Because we cannot know the future, only what it IS is relevant. You're confusing the two.

        May 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • Vinod

        Did anyone else noitce how weird the dragon in this video was. It moved very strangely and it had no ropes must of been the touring production. Right? Am I right? Please don't ignore me. Please?

        July 1, 2012 at 4:57 am |
    • Jason

      Definition of life, something that has a defined boundary, capable of reproduction, and the maintenance of homeostasis. Independent cells meet all of these requirement and are therefore, classified as life. Embryonic cells cannot maintain homeostasis without the support of everything in the womb so it isn't a life yet.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • mema

        Jason-forget how and why your here?! Sure if you deprive any living thing be it independent cells, bacteria etc...of the enviroment nesessary for it to thrive and suatain life, it to would die off. Whats your point?! If you pull a perfectly viable embryo out of its enviroment for development it wont survive!? Wow are you sure your not a rocket scientist!? The arguments you people make to deny life when it is just that, LIFE!

        May 18, 2012 at 4:36 am |
      • Maya

        Mema, please go look up the definition of "homeostasis" or stop talking. You are just making yourself look stupid.

        May 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Scott

      Your argument is silly, there is not a question that a fetus is living, the argument is should people be allowed to abort them. It is not a question of if it is living, there are much better arguments you could use, but saying what you did is just foolishness and makes you look bad.

      May 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  41. DisReverent

    Interesting article. I do hope if we are bringing this stuff up to the surface, that it is well isolated.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Brenda

      I was thinking the same thing. They could be playing with fire (plague).

      May 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  42. paul

    This is just more scientific B.S. another ploy why we should and have to spend more money than we can earn, , lets stick to what we do believe , The basic proven fact is that all things were created and thier so called evolution is merely the renewal process , you can not develope space by starting on the other side of the universe, you have to mine the precious metals of asteroids and set up liveing and refueling stations on moon ,mars and our close nieghbours, these scientists are looking for a fantasy land on the other side of the universe that is already developed for them , but no one liveing there,

    May 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • 8th E ist

      So called evolution?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • rcflyer8410

      Yeah, lets spend the money by continuing to give tax breaks to churches, who waste the majority of it building expensive churches (castles) to please their imaginary friend! I would think anything would be a more worthwhile expense than that! But hey... god needs those marble floors, 18K crosses, and expensive art to appease him! Oh yeah, and that expensive car, suit, and rolex help, too! Biggest fraud in the world...and people take it hook, line, and sinker!

      May 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
      • MathProf

        Amen ?

        May 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  43. Adam

    I'm sure that Chuck Norris could find bigger Aliens.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Adam

      .... and destroy them with his mind!!!! >)

      May 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • rs

        nah, karate fight!

        May 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  44. Ohhyeah

    Um, this idea about extraterrestrial alien microbes has been around a loooong time. Did anyone read The Andromeda Strain?

    May 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Jojo

      I feel So sorry for Stephanie J Block she is brillant as Elphaba but she is out sinehd by Idina Menzel because Idina was in two production of Wicked (orginal and broadway) and stephanie was in the on after Idina in the U.S. I was kind of hoping she was going to be in the Australian verison but Jemma Rix was awesome so its all good

      July 1, 2012 at 4:40 am |
  45. Vanilla lice

    I'm sure there will be some idiot scientists who rather find bacteria on another planet or moon, than try to find what we have on earth. We have the most wonderful life thriving world, yet some people people don't appreciate it enough.

    This is old news. Why are people still getting paid to publish this? Screw this mess! It's pointless!

    Invest in technologies here to create clean energy, such as nuclear fusion power, and getting away from oil. I'm more concerned about our planet, not some stupid bacteria from somewhere else. Stop wasting millions for nothing! Spend it here!

    May 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Zoltan

      Half of this article talks about the "wonderful life" that can be found on Earth in the form of the single-cell organisms. I don't see why we cannot discover new things here on Earth and explore new things throughout the universe.

      Sure its old news but its not a reason to get angry at this article. You were not forced to read it nor comment on it.

      Actually a lot of time is spent studying bacteria as they play a big role on Earth in terms of controlling our environment. Further information can helps us in creating clean energy. A lot of things can be considered a waste of money but discovering new information about the environment, the organisms and the universe we encounter is definitely a worthwhile investment.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      You do realize that when money is spent on space and stuff like this that the money is still spent here right? It's not sent to space. It helps our economy. It's not wasted at all. There are plenty of people working on those other things. Not nearly enough money is spent on these things for most people to notice.

      This is the type of research that is going to save our planet.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  46. Ethics Board

    They probably will be tiny, but the discovery will be HUGE!

    May 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  47. Russ

    Why do we care where we came from? Let's worry where we are going. 86 millions years ago clay? Do people really believe in Carbon Dating? How do determine if your sample is indeed those millions of years old. Clay is porous; this bacteria could have gotten inside it last week. Too many scientists are full of baloney!!!

    May 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Chris R

      First off – that's a 100 foot thick layer of clay. Clay isn't as porous as you think it is. That's why they use clay liners in landfills – because it isn't very porous. Second, they wouldn't use carbon dating for something like this. The rate of sedimentation is relatively stable over long time periods – you aren't going to get a 100 foot thick layer of clay building up in an area like that in a couple of years (or couple of thousand either). So you can divide the thickness of the layer and divide it by the the sedimentation rate to get a rough idea of how old a given sample is at a certain depth. You can also do uranium-lead, Samarium-neodymium, and so forth radiometric dating – those give you much longer clocks than carbon dating (limited to around 64k years). Third, you may not care about this sort of thing but a lot of other people do – including drug companies who look into these sort of things to find possible new sources for pharmaceuticals. Lastly, for some reason I'm far more inclined to put my faith in someone who has spent years of their life studying something and working in a precise field than some random guy on the Internet. So as far as baloney goes I think you should take some of what you have and make yourself a nice sandwich.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      Now Russ, what do you have to say for yourself?

      May 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  48. Boo

    It's all just speculation.....

    May 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  49. WIlly

    500 year old germs? That's a lot of candles.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  50. derth

    But Joy Behar isn't small?

    May 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Janiel

      Ugh – buying a new house is alosmt as stressful as having a baby!!! I hope everything works out for you guys ASAP!Also – I can never get "How we gonna wake up Jeff?" out of my head!!!!!! That or the "Getting Strong" song – oy!

      September 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  51. Paula D.

    If there's any truth to evolution at all, I see no reason why life would more likely be tiny than highly-evolved and intelligent. After all, we're talking about a universe that's over 4.6 billion years old. Life on Earth seemed to evolve rather quickly from single-cell organisms to Harvard grads in only a few million years. Do some organisms just sit there for eternity, never evolving while others seem to get the road map for evolutionary success? If so, we're still rather clueless as to the catalyst that makes single-cell organisms evolve into intelligent beings.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Hugo

      I think it's implied that the extraterrestial places we'll look are in our own solar system.

      If Mars had life, then Mars might still have life which could be found by digging. Same for Venus but digging there is a problem. Then there's the moons of the gas giants.

      May 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • PR

      the earth is 4.6 billion years old, the univers is almost 14 billion. Until you understand that, don't try to explain life

      May 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Zoltan

      Have you ever read a book on evolution? Life on Earth did not evolve over just a "few million years". Depending on the conditions of life some organisms do not evolve or evolve that much. Your last sentence pretty much confirms you are ignorant on the topic of evolution. All of your questions will be answered if you do the research.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • MathProf

        Not all, never all.

        May 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Jordan


      You are basing your statments on a common misconception of evolution. Man didn't so much as "evolve up" from a single cell organism as much as it did split off from that organism and become different.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Mike

      Um . . . I'm guessing you're unaware that multi-cellular life itself is actually only "relatively" recent. Of the 4.6 billion years of life on Earth, multi-cellular life didn't show up until about a billion years ago. Mammals like us aren't a major player until after the Dinosaurs died out 65 Million years ago, and our line of descent is only about 2.5 million years old. So, no. It's not a quick path from simple single celled life to complex intelligent life.

      Given that there wasn't multi-cellular life for roughly 4/5 of life's existence on earth, if we assume a similar timeline for other worlds, then there is -every- reason to assume off-world life will be tiny.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • junjunjun233

        That's the reason were formulating a basis in rate of mutation. Which is a constant to such condition. By then, we can formulate a hypothesis, If proven inaccurate, We consider factors such as environmental conditions, chemical compositions and so on. and lastly statistics/probability. If proven inaccurate still. Either there is something wrong with the data, missing data or to such extremes, intervened.

        July 1, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Jason

      If you want intellect in an organism, you need special proteins in specialized cells (nerve cells). If the organism is incredibly small or unicellular, then you're not going to find any neurons or a lot of proteins in them so it won't be capable of thought or intelligence. Species evolve depending on the changes in their environment and the complexity of the regulation of their DNA. If their environment changes rapidly, then the species will be forced to evolve in order to adapt to the new changes and if their DNA is not heavily regulated then, they get to evolve more rapidly just because the stuff keeps changing. In fact, when you analyze the genotype of prokaryotes, you'd find that they evolve much more quickly than us Eukaryotes due to the fact that they often live in much more chaotic environments and have an incredibly fragile genomes and the only reason that you don't think they change is the fact that you never bothered to examine them. Also, FYI, evolution is a fact, or else we won't have all those new species of bacterium popping out every year.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • junjunjun233

        I understand the validity of evolution to some extent. But im not convinced that evolution alone can play all the role in life's complexity. Since the discovery of bioengineering and manageability to put data(write and rewrite) on dna; Like what they did with salmons. I might find a case that complexity might be directed also and needed a more thorough investigation. Although some might say that nature can accidentally produced something that seems directed given the time which is true in some sense given the right conditions; I cant formulate a direct conclusion since chance might be intervened and if that happens it destroys it validity. Its a case if it is directed or not. And data must not be ignored.

        July 1, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  52. rad666

    Andromeda Strain?

    May 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Weldon Gebhard

      We can all jump to help it or them.

      May 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  53. cnnlicksit

    It's a good bet that alot of alien life is "bacteris-like". But its also a good bet that alien life might be like creatures that existed or still exist in our oceans, or on land. And its also a good bet that intelligent life has evolved elsewhere. Given the trillions of planets that exist in our universe there has to be other intelligent life out there, and perhaps some of them are writing on comment boards out there right now.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  54. Oscar Pitchfork

    So, we not only can't count on them having a decently strong E-M wave output to home in on, we have to actually find out what planet they live on and then look under a rock or in a pond? Screw that, let the aliens stay there...

    May 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  55. Tony

    Or perhaps Alien life is too large for us to be able to see...perhaps we are the size of bacteria to them. Who knows yet.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • RMJ

      ...or maybe we are INSIDE the alien and we are a cancer.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • Tainavictorinohonorio

        I'm not from the FDA, but I love to cook and I just happen to know this.You sohuld use a glass cutting board if at all possible. It's the easiest to sanitize.If that's not available, you can use plastic, but you run into some problems with it when there are knife cuts in the material plastic is still porous and can hide harmful bacteria.Wood sohuld be an absolute last resort. They're nasty.

        July 1, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  56. DeeNYC

    They may be tiny, or when we start digging on other planets we'll uncover the giant angry aliens who will destroy us all. Did no one see the trailer for prometheus???

    May 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  57. Bill in Florida

    How about this as an alternative headline: When we find alien life, it may be tiny.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  58. Jokesterer

    Way down below the ocean. Where I want to be. She may be.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  59. jim atmad

    'When', not 'if' we find life outside of our tiny little planet.

    Or it finds us.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  60. sybaris

    I wonder how Noah carried these bacteria on the ark?

    May 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • 8th E ist

      Good question. I'm still wondering what the carnivores ate on the ark. Or even better question, after the flood what did the lion eat given there was only 2 of every animal that it ate as food?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • Tom

        If you're already granting the existence of God and miracles, it's no stretch to suppose that God would have done another miracle to take care of the problem. Overriden the animals hunger, created more for them to eat, whatever. Just think of life like a videogame to God, can just spawn new stuff or change some variables, whatever.

        Of course, that is if you are granting God's existence. There's nothing in nature that would overrule the existence of deity.

        May 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
      • On my knees for God's pleasure

        I am not sure where that would leave us as sane, rational human beings if one could simply say that "God used his magic" as the answer for ANYTHING, no matter how crazy.

        May 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
      • For science!

        If an omnipotent deity exists/existed and had the wherewithal to do as you say (appease the animals' hunger, provide food for them from nothing, etc) then it begs the question of WHY.. why would this deity decide that all life, not just the wicked sinful Man he was punishing, need to float around on an ark for however long until the land became capable of sustaining life again?

        What did the animals do to Him that he needed to punish every living thing, when he clearly had a precedent for just burning other cities to the ground (see Sodom & Gomorrah). The absolute lack of reason inherent in theistic belief systems is appalling. I'm sure the "solution" to this conundrum lies in some kind of circular reasoning, as usual.

        May 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • MassiveMarbles

        Fables, rhymes and old wives tales. The force which created the galaxies, stars, and planets has no conscience. It just is a means for molecules to and matter to mix under the correct atmospheric conditions and bring about change. Not one things the same, everything is always shifting, moving from one state of being to another. All things created were formed from basic elements, everything which can be created will be because there is an underlying mysticism to eternity. As the pharaohs slaves can tell you, Man can create GODS. But, any GOD man creates is underneath the forces, rules and laws of nature and the omniverse.

        July 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Jason

      A related question. As we all know, you can't put most plants underwater for 30 days and expect it to live and also, without plants, the multicellular terrestrial lifeforms will die due to starvation. So, how in the world did Noah manage to at least 1 of every species of terrestrial plants onto a boat and keep those things alive during the flood?

      May 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • Tom

        You're not thinking like a theist does (or usually does, anyway).

        If you already grant the existence of an omnipotent God, that opens the door for allowing almost any deus ex machina plot devices in history that you can imagine. Could a God override an organisms usual needs for survival? Yep. Think of God as a bit like a videogame developer, he can just change or override variables and rules of nature at will, doing the "impossible".

        May 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  61. Dr. Dr.

    Sorry is not in the Bible...

    May 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  62. Scott

    Coincidence? Read the book!

    May 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  63. Gabe

    The origins of Earth's own life may be extraterrestrial. Some of the extremophile bacteria on Earth can become dormant, able to survive long periods of time in a vacuum.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Jason

      There's another theory involving the hydrophobic nature of lipids and RNA. Due to the hydrophobic nature of lipids, they will naturally clump together when placed in a polar solution like water and if you get some phospholipids together, they can easily form a plasma membrane like structure. Meanwhile, RNA is capable of both catalyzing reactions and replicating itself so if it manages to squeeze itself into one of those phospholipid bubbles, then you can get yourself something that's sort of like a cell.

      May 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  64. zzzzz

    They still depend on material that was generated by other living organisms, which ties them to the "Sun".
    "are still recycling material that fell from the ocean's surface millions of years ago".

    May 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |


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