#Earth #Alien – Alien Life Model Found in Deep Earth : An unusual microbe that lives off of radioactive rocks nearly 2 miles below Earth’s surface suggests what at least some extraterrestrial life could be like. The creature is a bacterium, Desulforudis audaxviator, discovered in the world’s deepest mine: the Mponeng Gold Mine of South Africa’s North West Province.
Since the organism’s energy source, radiation, is also generated by Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs), it’s possible that life outside of Earth thrives on this energy too, according to new research in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
GCRs are high energy particles originating outside the solar system.
Author Dimitra Atri, a research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, told DNews that D. audaxviator is the only organism known so far to live as a result of radiolysis, which refers to decomposition of a substance as a result of radiation.
The bacterium – called an “extremophile” because of its existence under such extreme conditions – eats radioactive rocks by extracting carbon and other essential chemicals from them.
This type of life, Atri said, “is so rare on Earth because we have an abundant supply of photons (particles of light) on the surface, and other extremophiles that use chemical energy or heat are relatively easier to find in places like hydrothermal vents.”