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NASA Scientist On South Coast Discovers New Types of Bacterial Life

(NASA photo)
The newly discovered bacteria Pisolithus arhizus. The pink ares in the photo are bacteria, the green life forms are algae.

We are surrounded by different types of life, but researchers say we are still scratching the surface of what exists.  Imagine what it would be like to discover some new forms of life. 

A Ventura County based NASA scientist says as he was pondering that question during a research project at the geysers in Yellowstone National Park, he literally almost stepped on the answer, one which adds support for the idea there may also be life in the cosmos.

As he was hiking around, NASA Scientist Kenneth Cullings noticed some mushrooms.  As he examined one which had be growing in the very hostile geyser environment, he wondered if there might be bacteria growing in it.  Tests showed it was home to two previously unknown types of bacteria.

The Oxnard researcher is part of a research team based as NASA’s Ames Research Center, in the Silicon Valley.

Cullings admits the find was exciting.  He says the bacterial life surviving in such a harsh environment is yet more support for the idea that there’s life beyond earth.  He notes that some hardy bacteria from Earth has been taken into space, and put outside of the spacecraft where it survived.

The NASA scientist says they are trying to learn more about the newly discovered bacterial life.

The Ventura County based scientist says it’s an ongoing adventure, with new molecular technology allowing us to even lean more about previously unknown, and overlooked life.  The NASA researcher’s findings were released in a paper published by the scientific journal Microbiology Open.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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