Large colonies of micro-organisms living under rocks have been discovered in the most hostile and extreme regions of the Arctic and Antarctic – giving new insights on survival of life on other planets.
Reporting in this weeks Nature, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography reveal their surprise findings that rock-dwelling micro-organisms can photosynthesise and store carbon just as much as the plants, lichens and mosses that live above ground.
BAS microbiologist Dr Charles Cockell says, "Although its usual to find micro-organisms thriving under quartz and translucent rocks in hot deserts because enough light gets through, we wouldnt have expected this type of colonization in the polar regions where most of the rocks are opaque. Also, the harsh UV- radiation and violent winds make for a hostile environment. We found that in fact the opaque rocks protect the micro-organisms and, the movement of rocks during the annual freeze-thaw allows cracks to form and light to penetrate beneath the surface.
Athena Dinar | EurekAlert!
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For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
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For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
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