It is not necessary to go to space to encounter bizarre alien life-forms. There are many strange creatures living right here on Earth.
Many of them are in places where you would never except to find anything alive.
As we already know extremophiles are organisms that live in "extreme" environments.
Certain discoveries have led scientists to believe that exposure to uranium can result in the creation of an entirely new very bizarre species.
In other words, our nuclear waste and radioactive environments can give birth to a new type of extremophiles, and in some cases even Frankenstein-style mutations.
Back in 2007, scientists discovered a number of varieties of black mold growing around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.
Researchers were surprised to find out that some of these were literally growing within the destroyed reactor.
Samples were collected by robots, since the area still has potentially deadly levels of radioactivity, and researchers with the Albert Einstein College of
Medicine began studying how the curious little fungi could survive in such a hostile environment.
Everyone was chocked to see that the molds grew and absorbed acetate faster in an environment when exposed to radiation
500 times higher than what are generally considered safe levels.
Containing high levels of the pigment melanin, the molds were apparently capable of converting gamma radiation.
These beings thrived on radiation.
There is more to this story. Another incident that recently occurred suggests organisms could be born out of uranium.
A bizarre white cobweb was discovered at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, a 300-square-mile nuclear clean-up facility owned by the U.S Department of Energy
Scientists have never seen this white "string-like" on nuclear waste and fear this strange growths is of biological origin, possibly a "mutant" spider.
The top of the uranium fuel assembly where a white cobweb like material has been found.
Image Credit: SWNS.com
A report filed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board - a federal oversight panel - concluded: "The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterised, but may be biological in nature." This implies the prospect of a creature having morphed into a new species of 'extremophile' after being exposed to uranium.
Organisms with a natural resistance to radiation are said to be 'radioresistant,' and do exist. Deinococcus radiodurans is one of the most naturally
radioresistant organisms on Earth and has been genetically engineered so that that it can be used in the treatment of radioactive waste.
Osman Kemal Kadirolu, a former professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Istanbul, said: 'As we know life evolves in most unusual places.
Volcanoes at the mid-Atlantic are thriving with life where the water temperature is below 0C and pressure is more than 300atm. Or in hot salt water
pools around geysers.
"The water in the spent fuel pools is maintained at a certain pH and temperature. If micro organisms enter into the pool they may have a chance to live.
The radiation field near a spent fuel assembly is very large and will definitely disturb the normal life cycle of the micro-organisms.
Though I am sure you would not get monsters like the ones that come out of the Sea of Japan in cheap Japanese horror movies."
On Earth there are already organisms that are resistant to radiation.
Genetically engineered Deinococcus radiodurans is an extremophilic bacterium, one of the most radioresistant organisms known to exist.
Deinococcus can be used in the treatment of radioactive waste. Such remarkable organisms can deal with harmful substances and perform a
variety of other beneficial duties that otherwise could be harmful to humans.
Deinococcus radiodurans is the world's toughest bacteria.
Radioresistant organisms prove that life can evolve in the most hostile environments.
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