• Question: name one exotic microbe

    Asked by s14876 to Henry on 18 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Henry Porter

      Henry Porter answered on 18 Jun 2014:

      I will name you three!

      This virus, Pithovirus sibericum, has been trapped in ice for 30,000 years:

      Technically a virus is not a living thing but I will include it hear anyway. Scientists have just revived it and it is ~100 times bigger than any other virus we have ever seen

      This is Synthia:

      It is the first organism ever that has been designed by humans. It is very special – hundreds and thousands of years from now, when humans have mastered the ability to create life from scratch, we will look back and say Synthia was the first.

      This is a tardigrade:

      This organism is very peculiar. It can survive exposure to temperatures from -272 (nearly absolute 0) to 150. It can survive in space, where the pressure is extremely low, and at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean, where the pressure is very high. It can live at the top of the Himalayas. It can survive without water for 10 years. It can withstand 1000 times the dose of radiation that would kill a human.

      There is a theory which says life on earth started after a comet carrying microbes landed on earth. It is thought that maybe they survived the crash and everything on the planet is descended from them. The existence of the tardigrade suggests that nature can produce something tough enough to survive such an experience.