NASA's Virtual 'Summer Science Camp' Continues With Today's Chat About Extreme Life

Ask an Expert: When Life Gets Extreme
They're known as "extremophiles" -- rugged life forms that thrive under the most extreme conditions. They cling to life at the edge of lava. They thrive under thousand-years-old layers of ice. They withstand radiation bombardment and still reproduce. They bathe in acid and keep on going. The can be dried, dehydrated and desiccated, yet still go about their business. (And you thought your days were challenging!)

On Thursday, July 8, NASA scientist Richard Hoover from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about extremophiles and the hunt to find them in some out-of-the-way corners of Earth -- including Antarctica.

More About Chat Expert Richard Hoover

Dr. Richard Hoover, a Marshall employee since 1968, is the Astrobiology group leader at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. Hoover is recognized for his work in X-ray and extreme ultraviolet light optics – ranging from microscopes to telescopes. His full-disk images of the sun in the x-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths are among his many innovative advances for the field of Astrobiology.

Hoover has collected meteorites and microbial extremophiles from Antarctica; novel bacteria from Glaciers and permafrost of Antarctica, Patagonia, Siberia and Alaska and from haloalkaline lakes, geysers, and volcanoes of California, Alaska, Crete and Hawaii. He has discovered three new species of bacteria from Mono Lake in California – Spirochaeta Americana, Desulfonatronum thiodismutans and Tindallia californiensis -- and another, Carnobacterium pleistocenium, which survived for 32,000 years in a frozen Alaskan pond.

He holds 11 U.S. patents and in 1992 was named NASA’s Inventor of the Year. He served on editorial boards of several scientific journals and the boards of directors of the American Association of Engineering Societies, and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He is the author or editor of 33 books and some 250 papers on astrobiology, extremophiles, diatoms, solar physics, X-ray/EUV optics and meteorites. He co-directed the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Astrobiology in Crete, for which he published the book "Perspectives in Astrobiology" in 2005.
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