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Inhospitable

March 22, 2013

Torah Kachur

What is the most inhospitable place on the planet?  A lava flow, a glacier, Honey BooBoo's mom's panties?  How about eleven kilometers under the ocean at one thousand times the pressure we experience on land.

 

The bottom of the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, is home to incredibly active microbial cultures.  New research has revealed that life at the bottom is a wonderful place where they feed on carcasses that have floated down into the abyss.  It was here that researchers sent a robot 4 meters tall and 600 kilos in weight to the depths of the most unknown place that exists.  The robot took sediment cores and found all sorts of different bacteria and organisms fully at home under those incredible conditions.

 

 

The ecosystem of the abyss has an incredibly large impact on the biomass of our entire planet and certainly of our oceans as the job of these critters is to return the material from the carcasses back to the natural carbon cycles in the seas.

 

Why go to Mars when we have Mariana to explore?

 

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