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Name: Jungle Fever
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Question:
I'm probably writing this is vain since my numerous other notes weren't answered, but here goes. Does anyone out there know anything about the dark algae found in Siberia (or Antarctica, I don't remember which) or the primitive microbes found by Chris McKay that were revived by a drop of water? Also, can this concept be applied to the possibility of life on Mars? I'd also appreciate any information on extraterrestrial microorganisms or life forms. Much thanks.



Replies:
I don't know specifically about the algae that you mention. However, I do know that there are several kinds of algae that go into a sexual reproductive state in response to adverse conditions often including high temperatures or lack of moisture. This sexual phase results in formation of a fertilized zygote which becomes dormant until conditions are optimum for growth. This usually involves water - so a drop of water could initiate growth of the new alga, and it could reproduce asexually quite rapidly, until conditions trigger the sexual phase again. I see no reason why such a growth pattern couldn't apply to life on Mars or anywhere else. There isn't much information, as far as I'm aware, regarding extraterrestrial life. So far, none has been found, but it is likely, statistically, that there is some out there, somewhere. The SETI program (Search for extraterrestrial intelligence), funded in part by the Planetary Society, is trying to find higher forms of life by doing radio searches.
Good luck, and let me know if you find out any other info.

Ellen Mayo



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