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Waspie_Dwarf

BIOMEX: Exploring Mars in Low Earth Orbit

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BIOMEX: Exploring Mars in Low Earth Orbit

In their quest to understand life’s potential beyond Earth, astrobiologists study how organisms might survive in numerous environments, from the surface of Mars to the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. For now, Earth is our only example of an inhabited planet, and studying the limits of habitability on Earth is a major component of astrobiology research. For this reason, scientists collect data from places on our planet where life is pushed to the absolute limits of adaptability, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and from smoldering thermal vents to highly acidic rivers.

But locations like the Antarctic Dry Valleys or deep-sea vents in the Pacific aren’t the only places in which astrobiologists study life as we know it. Low Earth orbit provides an opportunity to observe Earth-life in the harsh conditions of space.

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