NASA boosts hopes of finding aliens with discovery of ancient life trapped inside ‘Hell’ crystals
SCIENTISTS have found bugs living inside giant crystals for up to 60,000 years in a discovery that boosts hopes of finding similar life forms on other planets.
Around 100 different tiny bugs, most of which are bacteria, were discovered by NASA scientists inside five metre long gypsum crystals located in a Mexican cave system.
The amazing crystals sit above a large body of volcanic magma (lava located underground) and heat the cave to 60C – an environment dubbed hell by scientists.
NASA revived some of the alien organisms in a move that has boosted hopes of finding similar life forms in extreme environments on other planets – an alien species.
Of the 100 bugs found in the Naica Mine in Chihuahua state, 90% had never been seen before with the crystals found in caves the size of cathedrals.
The crystals looked so other-worldly that one of NASA’s top scientists thought the images were a Photoshop hoax.
Penelope Boston, director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, have spent years exploring the cave system and explained the bugs were found in a state of ‘geolatency’ – where living organisms are suspended in geological materials for long periods of time.
The team of researchers estimate that the life forms have been preserved for between 10,000 and 60,000 years in an environment most of Earth’s life forms could not survive in.