"Blue Holes" Could Hold Clues to Alien Life

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"Blue Holes" Could Hold Clues to Alien Life

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Could a special kind of sea cave give scientists an insight into what life is like on other worlds?

When someone says that he or she is going diving, the first thing that probably comes to mind is coral reefs and tropical fish. What you might not immediately think of is a submerged inland cavern cut off from surface oxygen, but these "blue holes" may contain vital clues in the search for extra-terrestrial life.

In a blue hole, a layer of fresh water sits on top of the salt water and prevents any oxygen from entering it. This creates an unusual environment that researchers believe might mimic submerged pockets of water on Mars, or Jupiter's moon Europa. Exploration of the blue holes in the Bahamas revealed unique ecosystems in each one, with no shared species. Astrobiologist Jenn Macalady believes that if scientists can understand how microbes survive in that environment, they would have a good idea of what to look for on other planets.

This research could contribute to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. All it will take is the discovery of a single microbe on another planet to prove extra-terrestrial life once and for all, and these blue holes might just help us find one.

Source: io9

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Hell yeah. Science is awesome.

I fucking love science.

Alien life IS out there....all we gotta do is find it...... as though that's easy.... heh.

As an avid scuba diver, and a chemist, these "blue holes" that I have never heard of before are extremely exciting. I'll be interested in seeing the research that comes out of them.

SnipErlite:
Hell yeah. Science is awesome.

I fucking love science.

Alien life IS out there....all we gotta do is find it...... as though that's easy.... heh.

There really shouldn't be a doubt that there is some form of life out there. The problem is people confuse alien life with intelligent life.

Yay for science first we find the bacteria and then on to little green men.

Blue holes? What's next, orange holes?

Just reading the title of this article I thought that they were talking about a specific area of a blue skinned alien, I'm sure that reaching in there would probably enable you to "hold clues to alien life".

if im not mistaken there is such a thing called anaerobes where the organism perform anaerobic respiration for it's lifetime or am I missing something out from this article?

besides we know that life can survive the most extreme and the most usual environments because of the virus (Archaea) particles that can be found in Yellow stone

I really want to go to one, they look awesome.

Not really fussed about what they find in them, they just look and sound fun to go to.

Astrobiologist? That's a new one.

Could somebody explain how the fresh-water prevents the oxygenation of the salt-water? I'm genuinely interested. Is it something to do with diffusion gradients?

Interesting. I would like to learn more though.

Noodle99:
Just reading the title of this article I thought that they were talking about a specific area of a blue skinned alien, I'm sure that reaching in there would probably enable you to "hold clues to alien life".

If the blue skinned race we are talking about happen to be Asari, then count me in!

OT: This discovery is awesome! One step closer to finding other life in the universe...go Science!!

manaman:

SnipErlite:
Hell yeah. Science is awesome.

I fucking love science.

Alien life IS out there....all we gotta do is find it...... as though that's easy.... heh.

There really shouldn't be a doubt that there is some form of life out there. The problem is people confuse alien life with intelligent life.

Ah this is true, although I personally think it's a ~certainty that there's also intelligent life. The sheer size of the Universe............meh. Who knows :)

it's like no one watched Planet Earth, they said this same thing years ago... still though I am happy that they are making correlations like these. Now if the solar system or the planet can survive long enough to find life on mars, that is the question!

Im not much of a science person, but even this is really exciting to me. Hopefully this leads to some incredible discoveries, even if it's just a tiny bit of bacteria on another planet, it will completely change how people see life. :D

ciortas1:
Blue holes? What's next, orange holes?

don't you mean portals?

ciortas1:
Blue holes? What's next, orange holes?

If you entered one would you come out the other?

image

Go Science! GO!

I have heard of this thing called something like the great blue hole
here's a link to a picture of it. it's pretty awesome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Blue_Hole.jpg

Oh wow...thats pretty impressive. Even if it was just onecell, as mentioned...proof of life out there!

Furious Styles:
I have heard of this thing called something like the great blue hole
here's a link to a picture of it. it's pretty awesome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Blue_Hole.jpg

That....um....nevermind....

Alien life is nice but its intelligent alien life that we are all really excited for. Where are the damn (insert your personal favorite alien race here)! This would be an excellent first step though!

TheMaddestHatter:
That....um....nevermind....

What? They're amazing things and this is the biggest, deepest one of them all.

these are not the "blue holes" i am interested in.

image

these however, are.

OT: finally glad to see some actual science instead of bullshit "studies" that already prove the obvious.

manaman:

SnipErlite:
Hell yeah. Science is awesome.

I fucking love science.

Alien life IS out there....all we gotta do is find it...... as though that's easy.... heh.

There really shouldn't be a doubt that there is some form of life out there. The problem is people confuse alien life with intelligent life.

Pfft, so what? People confuse "human race" with "intelligent life" all the time.

Tinq:
Astrobiologist? That's a new one.

Yeah, you'd think for all they have to talk about that technically I'd be an expert astrobiologist.

But seriously, I thought we already found extraterrestrial bacteria, on Mars. Or at least fossilized remnants of them. Obviously this could be an important next step, but I get the impression everyone still thinks it's a question of whether or not there's life out there at all. Maybe I misheard something.

similar.squirrel:
Could somebody explain how the fresh-water prevents the oxygenation of the salt-water? I'm genuinely interested. Is it something to do with diffusion gradients?

That's what I was wondering. Anyone in the know? (Or willing to do the research???)

Andronicus:

manaman:

SnipErlite:
Hell yeah. Science is awesome.

I fucking love science.

Alien life IS out there....all we gotta do is find it...... as though that's easy.... heh.

There really shouldn't be a doubt that there is some form of life out there. The problem is people confuse alien life with intelligent life.

Pfft, so what? People confuse "human race" with "intelligent life" all the time.

Probably because it's true. I find myself to be fairly intelligent.

Now I might not always make the most intelligent choices but that does not mean the basic premise that I am intelligent is false. I think you find that the same is true for humanity as a whole, we may not always make the best choices, but as a bunch we are pretty damned smart.

The only reason we ain't found alien life is the fact that the USA is covering up all knowledge of extraterrestrial life in order to find the secret path to Atlantis. from there, they will use the hyper-advanced technology to destroy China and claim the emergency marshmallow reserves hidden in the Great Wall of China in order to launch an attack on the solar beings that come to my house every night!!!

...what? I'm not crazy!

OT: Seriously, folks. If aliens exist, we WILL find them. Eventually. hell, a "Extraterrestrial" could just mean a creature that lives in the atmosphere.

...then again, let's pray for life on OTHER planets. the life on this one is messed-up enough.

manaman:

Andronicus:

manaman:

SnipErlite:
Hell yeah. Science is awesome.

I fucking love science.

Alien life IS out there....all we gotta do is find it...... as though that's easy.... heh.

There really shouldn't be a doubt that there is some form of life out there. The problem is people confuse alien life with intelligent life.

Pfft, so what? People confuse "human race" with "intelligent life" all the time.

Probably because it's true. I find myself to be fairly intelligent.

Now I might not always make the most intelligent choices but that does not mean the basic premise that I am intelligent is false. I think you find that the same is true for humanity as a whole, we may not always make the best choices, but as a bunch we are pretty damned smart.

I think the group of alien researchers looking down at us from their cloaked ship up in space would feel inclined to disagree with you there.

Logan Westbrook:
snips

If this kind of stuff interests you I'd suggest you and anyone reading take a look at the tv series Wonders Of The Solar System. It's brilliant and the presenter Brian Cox really sells it. The episode you would like is titled Aliens (episode 5).

It's all wonderful stuff.

Andronicus:

I think the group of alien researchers looking down at us from their cloaked ship up in space would feel inclined to disagree with you there.

Okay, you have to be joking. It's hard to tell sometimes. Well here my response to people who decide to look down their nose on the intelligence of humanity as a whole usually follows as something like this:

The chances that you are including yourself as unintelligent, or a part of the masses you look down on is pretty slim. So you find yourself to more intelligent then the vast majority of people. That only speaks of one thing, arrogance. We have words like average for a reason, and you will find that people don't usually deviate from average by much. Chances are you are a lot closer to average then you want to acknowledge. There is nothing wrong with that, and rather then thinking something has to be special about you because you find everyone else to be so stupid recognize those thoughts for what they, confirmation bias of a preconceived notion. Embrace the fact that humanity might not be in such a bad spot as you want to think. Sure there are the oddball geniuses, and some people that don't progress beyond a typical 5th graders level of intelligence, but even that is pretty damned smart when you take animal intelligence into consideration.

One step closer to light sabers oh right

Most people think the cool sciences are theoretical phsyics, or nuclear chemistry. But actually, the coolest sciences are conducted 1000 feet below your backyard in a diving suit; Xenobiology.

summerof2010:

similar.squirrel:
Could somebody explain how the fresh-water prevents the oxygenation of the salt-water? I'm genuinely interested. Is it something to do with diffusion gradients?

That's what I was wondering. Anyone in the know? (Or willing to do the research???)

The density difference between the two layers prevents them from mixing with each other. However each layer is allowed to circulate within itself. This might show it clearer:
http://www.lmvp.org/Waterline/spring2005/images/stratification.gif

Also, turbulent re-aeration is much greater than the molecular diffusive type. The upper fresh layer is open to the atmosphere and turbulent wind forces, which allows quick re-aeration. Since it is allowed to mix with itself, the highly oxygenated air from the water surface is mixed within the upper fresh layer.

There is no mixing between the fresh and salt layer though, so no oxygen is carried to the lower layer. Any oxygen that does makes it though due to diffusion is likely to be quickly consumed by and decaying matter (oxygen consumption >> diffusion rate).

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