Sciences - Other

Are People alone in the Universe

Nancy Houser's image for:
"Are People alone in the Universe"
Image by: 

There are numerous reports from the ESSC, LESC, and ESF inter-committee initiative groups which speak more than loudly of the possibility of non-human life forms, especially those in extreme environments. It would be impossible to cite them all in this article, as they all refer to the same findings. Numerous scientific studies are presenting evidence of new life forms that have evolved over time in distinctive locations. These are individual locations that allow for  unique life forms to develop in that area alone, based on the climate, temperature, and  settings that meet the needs of that particular life form  to grow and take root.

This has provided scientists and researchers with evidence of unique features and characteristics of newly found life forms on our own planet and while looking on Mars.  Unfortunately, when we thing of life in the universe the image of a little green creature with almond shaped eyes comes immediately to mind. But we need to look at the most minuscule, the tiniest of life forms which go beyond the ability of the eye to recognize - a form which we originated at one time.

Current studies offer tremendous hope of possible life on other planets with similar environments as ours. But we are finding them on our own planet in isolated locations, ranging from our highest mountains to the lowest sea floors. They also give us a clear picture that we have never had before about how life developed and formed on Earth, according to the European Science Foundation.

"Any cell, even a very basic cell such as those found in bacteria, is a very complicated thing," said Stephen Giovannoni, an associate professor of microbiology at Oregon State University.  "But experiments have shown you can get fairly complicated molecules and amino acids from the interaction of basic chemicals and electricity."  ( Oregon State University ).

A 58-page report was published by the ESF, "Investigating Life in Extreme Environments-A European Perspective." This inter-committee initiative involves the base of all research on life forms: the Marine Board, the European Polar Board, the European Space Science Committee, the Life Earth and Environmental Sciences Standing Committee, the Standing Committee for Humanities, and the European Medical Research Councils. ESF's initiative involves all types of life forms, evolving in a wider range of extreme environments than ever done before.

According to the notable online source,,  in their press release, "Investigating Life in Extreme Environments report gives hints on life," this includes microbes to humans, deep sea to acidic rivers, and polar regions or planetary bodies. Up until now, we had only been searching in space - never realizing that the origins of all life forms just possibly may be here on earth.

An important issue in the report is about how recent global changes on Earth have alternated some of the researched environments, forcing them to become the "extreme" conditions of Earth's normal ecosystems. According to the ESF, "the understanding of tolerance, adaptation, and non-adaption to extreme conditions and ecosystem functioning are able to help predicting the impact of global change on biodiversity." Without global changes, we may have never discovered a life form in our own back yard. Instead, we would have continuously kept our gaze to the red planet of Mars and others.

Further investigations of new life forms have resorted to the highly publicized detailed searches for life on recent missions to the red planet, using data we have been finding through the new life forms on earth. Opening new doors to scientific discoveries, Antarctic ice (in particular the Murdo Dry Valleys) is usually an excellent spot for comparison studies between Mars and Earth as bacterial colonies thrive in this location. These conditions not only compare to Mars or Europa (a large moon of Jupiter), but provide excellent comparison studies for insights into life forms elsewhere in the solar. The conditions in Antarctic have always been considered an extreme environment, with findings of life forms not a huge surprise to those who have worked on the location’s data.

Over time, it is hoped the data can merge, with the same possibilities of new life forms found on Mars or similar planets. Many times research has been held back by lack of money, serious questions regarding the study’s practical value, and the mental status of any unknown bacteria's evolution or behavior. As the studies continue to grow with more results, views are quickly changing.

More about this author: Nancy Houser

From Around the Web

  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrow