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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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The Earth's Driest Place

The Earth's Driest Place


Armando Azua-Bustos (credit: Chile Astrobiology Institute)


Astrobiologist Armando Azua-Bustos studies Chile's Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth. In some years it doesn't rains in the desert at all and he still finds life there. Imagine algae that has the ability to "mine" the fog by growing spider-like webs or bacteria that utilize intense UV light as an energy source.

Azua-Bustos investigates these extreme adaptations to the Atacama's hyper-aridity by studying soil microbes known as extremophiles. Such organisms potentially represent natural analogs that could to help identify similar environments on Mars and where life might exist. His latest ecological discoveries were presented at a TED conference to an amazed audience. WHB

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