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Lecture Notes for ASTR 380 - LIFE IN UNIVERSE-ASTRBIO with Miller at Maryland (UMD)

Notes Information

Material Type:Class Note
Professor:Miller
Class:ASTR 380 - LIFE IN UNIVERSE-ASTRBIO
Subject:Astronomy
University:University of Maryland
Term:--
Keywords:
  • Psychrophiles
  • Extremophiles
  • Low Temperatures
  • Hyperthermophiles
  • Simple Organisms
  • Black Smokers
  • Complicated
  • Limiting Factor
  • Basic Research
  • Circumstances
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Extremophiles In this class we will focus on one of the coolest developments in biology over the last 2-3 decades: the discovery of many extremophiles in different environments. Loosely, we can define extremophiles as organisms that live and indeed thrive in realms that would be quickly fatal to us. Yes, it's a rather human-centered way of looking at things; we'll discuss at the end whether this is reasonable. We will begin by discussing some of the specific bizarre conditions in which we find life. For this, a good reference is http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/projects/euk- extreme/ We will then indulge in some wild speculation about what this might mean for life on Mars, and conclude by discussing whether we've been at all reasonable in our categoriza- tion: for example, could it be that on some other planet the dominant intelligent lifeform(s) are used to a high-temperature, high-salt environment and would consider a pleasant fall day in Maryland to be extreme? One last thing before we t...

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