Friday, May 06, 2005

A bugs life

I spent the better part of yesterday thinking about bacteria. Those of you not in science may not realize it, but we are in the midst of a unique period of biological discovery on our planet. Every few months a paper comes out that reveals that a new bacterium or micro-organism has been discovered which eats or does something interesting. Everyplace that has water and an energy source, has life and they are finding life in places they that nobody ever dreamed was possible.

(Ain't e. coli cute!)

Why does this matter you ask? Because these bugs do interesting things life eat buried Jurrasic rainforests and turn it into oil (thats right, oil is most likely bug shit), they eat contaminants and purify our groundwater, they also teach us about life in our universe. If a bug can live several hundred feet below the surface of the earth and convert a naturally occuring gases into the stuff of life, then these bugs can live a lot of interesting places. Most certainly Mars, possibly venus and some of the larger moons in the solar system. There are tons of places we haven't looked for life yet on our own planet let alone the solar system and and our corner of the galaxy. It looks pretty likely that the universe is bustling with life, but it may not be of the ET variety.

It's depressing and exciting because evolution teaches us that if there is a niche for life then life will fill it.


mandy said...

I like the pictures!

Almostgrace said...

if there is a niche for life then life will fill it.

I love that statement.

Bodie said...

Thanks guys!