Feb 18, 2017 08:51 AM EST
Naica, Mexico Cave NASA Discovery Finds 50,000 Year Old Virus
In Naica, Mexico, a cave system is found to hold some secrets to the Earth. What is described to look like something out of fairy tales has NASA scientists excited.
These biologists are particularly interested in the ancient microbes that are laying dormant in Naica, Mexico. For these life forms to survive, it appears that they were able to exist by living off on minerals such as manganese and iron.
Penelope Boston, the current head of NASA's Astrobiology Institute calls it super life, as reported by ABC News. Boston presented the discovery on Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. The study is still on-going but if their theory of feeding off of these minerals are confirmed then this just proves that this is another example of how microbial life forms can survive even through harsh conditions.
Their work is not yet published in any scientific journal as it needs peers to review it but the testing of the microbes continue. According to Boston, there are 40 different strains of microbes and even some viruses are found. Comparing it to the their nearest relatives, Boston finds that they are only 10 percent different genetically.
Because of the conditions inside the Naica, Mexico caves where it is so hot and these microbes still survived, University of South Florida biologist Norine Noonan says that it just proves that life on Earth is extremely tough and versatile.
NASA advised Boston to limit her revelations to the public as it is still being further studied. But most biologists are interested in the different viruses found living in these crystals that can survive punishing conditions, as reported by The Guardian.
The huge Naica, Mexico cave that is now an abandoned mining system looks like a gigantic ice palace. And its fantastic sight is only coupled by its mysterious past as scientists continue to find out what kind of viruses and bacteria these are.
Watch the National Geographic clip below where a team of scientists explore a Mexican cave filled with giant crystals; some of the largest ever discovered:
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