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Tough Microbes from Mars

Russian scientists think a tough microbe that can withstand huge doses of radiation must have come from Mars, since it wouldn't have had time to develop this ability here on Earth. On Mars, however, the bugs could have received the necessary dose in just a few hundred thousand years, because radiation levels there are much higher. The bugs would then have traveled to Earth on meteorites.

Anatoli Pavlov and his team tried to create the same type of resistance in E. coli bacteria, which are common on Earth. They blasted the bacteria with enough gamma rays to kill 99.9 per cent of them, let the survivors recover, and then repeated the process, so that only the strongest would survive. During the first cycle, just a hundredth of the lethal human dose was enough to wipe out 99.9% of the bacteria, but after 44 cycles, it took 50 times that level to kill the same number of bugs. They think it would take thousands of these cycles before the E. coli were as hardy as these other microbes. On Earth, this would take between a million and a hundred million years, and since life originated on Earth about 3.8 billion years ago, there hasn?t been enough time for this resistance to evolve.

Venus, the closest planet to Earth, is too hot to support life but scientists believe microbes could be living in its atmosphere?and maybe some of them have traveled here too. Texas researchers Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Louis Irwin studied a region of Venus?s atmosphere that has a high concentration of water droplets and found gases in its chemical composition that could be explained by the presence of microbes.

Schulze-Makuch thinks Venus was once much cooler and there could have been oceans there. He says, "Life could have started there and retreated to stable niches once the runaway greenhouse effect began."

We recently found out that life could have been brought to Earth from Mars on space rocks, meaning that we?re all basically Martians. Now we?ve discovered that we could be Venetians too. Life is getting more like ?Star Trek? every day.

If life came here from other worlds, did they contact Native Americans? Nancy Red Star collects legends that say this might be true. Read ?Legends of the Star Ancestors,? click here.

To learn more,click here and here.

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