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When you're trying to figure out what alien life might look like, it makes sense to be looking in the most extreme environments Earth has available.

One such place where life has been found to thrive is three kilometres (1.86 miles) beneath the ground, the home of one of the strangest lifeforms we know: the bacterium Desulforudis audaxviator.

It lives in complete dark, in groundwater up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) - an environment devoid of sunlight, oxygen or organic compounds.

And it has perfectly evolved to derive its energy from the radioactive decay of uranium in the rocks around it - which means it lives off nuclear energy instead of relying on the Sun.

This, according to researchers from the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory and the University of São Paulo, makes it an excellent model for studying the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

In particular, the possibility of life on Jupiter's moon Europa, an ocean planet covered in ice, far from the life-giving light and warmth of our home star.

To read more, click here.

Category: Science