Education Collection (Document)
NARRATOR These are the dry valleys of the Antarctic, one of the world's most extreme deserts. Here, beneath a layer of dry dirt, is buried ice, similar to Mars'. If life can exist here, could it exist on Mars too?
CHRIS MCKAY (ASTROBIOLOGIST, NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER) We're doing, in the Antarctic, exactly what we want to do on Mars. We drill down into this Mars-like soil, we collect Mars-like ice, and what we look for, what we hope are Mars-like microorganisms.
NARRATOR At the point where the dirt meets the ice, the team discovers a thin film of liquid water. And when they look at the samples under a microscope, to their surprise, there is something moving.
CHRIS MCKAY We're finding, at the ice, there is life, which is quite remarkable.
NARRATOR Microorganisms thrive in this thin film of water, but only for a short time.
CHRIS MCKAY They spend most of the year frozen and dormant, and they're only active for a few weeks each summer, when temperatures get warm.
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