The earth supports not one but two large realms of life: surface life fed by photosynthesis, which is familiar to us all, and deep life, fed by chemical energy that has penetrated up from below. We have only just begun to explore the inhabitants and the reach of the deep realm. I suspect that until microbes drawn up from the deep are perceived as representatives of a wholly distinctive biosphere, rather than as isolated and ingenious adaptations of surface life pushing back the frontiers of habitability, research on deep life will remain sparse and largely unheralded. If the shift in perspective does take place, however, a veritable explosion of new ideas will surely permeate two of the most speculative yet philosophically engaging issues in science: the origin of life and the prospects for extraterrestrial life.
KeywordsAutocatalytic Process Large Asteroid Extraterrestrial Life Eukaryotic Domain Engaging Issue
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