The 5 most extraterrestrial places on the planet

National Geographic’s 10 Most “Extraterrestrial” Places on Earth

If life beyond Earth even slightly resembles what we know, it will find a way to master even the most inhospitable landscapes. On our planet, neither volcanic lakes, nor acid ponds, nor crystalline caves can match stubborn biology. However, on Mars and Europe’s icy moon? Perhaps someday we will have an answer.

To understand how life arises, evolves, and thrives, and to improve the chances of finding it in the solar system, scientists are engaged in studying the harshest conditions. That means they have to go to extreme locations – where it’s incredibly hot, dark, dry, acidic, or salty.

In a gallery from National Geographic, you can take a look at some of the locations.

If humans were to build a base on the Moon or Mars, its location in a cooled volcanic tube is not such a bad idea. Underground structures protect against dangerous radiation, micrometeorites and extreme temperatures. Astronauts are already training

Hundreds of meters below the surface is a cave full of giant selenite crystals. This cave in Mexico is hot, humid and completely dark. Despite its discovery only 19 years ago, scientists have already discovered microbes in the crystals.

The Uyuni Salt Cave in the Bolivian Andes is the largest salt flat on Earth. It is so white that it can be seen from space. Sometimes after a rainfall, water covers the salt, creating an endless mirror-like surface. Many microorganisms can be found here, preferring to

Antarctica is a popular destination for cosmologists who want a glimpse into a potential extraterrestrial ocean. A thick layer of ice hides and isolates entire oceans, just as on satellites Europa and Enceladus. Where could life arise but at the bottom of an ancient ocean!

California’s Mono Lake resembles Mars as it was four billion years ago, when the planet was just beginning to lose its water. As the water slowly evaporates, strange towers of calcium carbonate are revealed. This is where scientists test the equipment,

A place of ablution in the waters of the sacred Ganges, India

Since 2003, scientists have been using the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, far to the north, to test technology designed for use on Mars. The low temperatures, uneven surface, permafrost and volcanic geology make this

Borup Fjord in Canada, with its yellowish snow, resembles the surface of Europa, the moon of Jupiter. This environment was created by saline springs spitting sulfur onto the ice crust. Scientists have discovered many microbes here and are conducting hands-on studies on the

Chile’s Atacama Desert is often the place to simulate Mars – it’s one of the driest places on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of less than 3 centimeters. Despite the extreme conditions, life has found a place here as well.

The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is the epitome of the harshest environment. The volcanic terrain is full of hot acid springs, bubbling lava, and toxic fumes. Even here, however, you can find microorganisms that have adapted to life.

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