BACK TO 1j: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
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Q: Did you
learn anything new, or did you just touch base with what you already
Justin: We learned
a lot of what's new - what kind of organisms can live in these extreme
environments, environments that are pretty surprising.
Tom: I think
we did learn quite a few new things - what types of life can exist
in places where people once thought no life existed at all. But we
didn't have very much time to go very in-depth.
Senator Conrad Burns called you up, and wanted to know if he should
keep funding research on extremophile organisms, and if so, why. What
would you tell him?
Justin: I would
say yes, because we could gain new knowledge about organisms that
we never even knew existed, that might possibly help us find life
on other planets.
Eric: I would
agree with Justin. Also, when you find new organisms, you might gain
new knowledge that would help cure diseases.
Tom: I'd tell
him that definitely he should, but I think it would help a lot to
check other planets, because that might help us find out the origin
of life on this planet.
Jamie: I'd have
to say yes on that too, because there are a lot of places that people
haven't been able to get to yet. Like when we were talking about the
ice drilling in Antarctica, they had to drill down over two kilometers
into the ice, and it took them years and was really expensive. But
they have to be careful, because they might bring up some microorganism
that's a million years old and could cause a disease. They have to
be careful about what they do.
Q: In your
opinion, is this a good way to learn stuff?
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Jamie: With books,
you just sit there and read and - I don't like to read, and so I just
kinda breeze over it, and read enough that I can take a test on it.
Here we actually had to do research and know what we we looking up,
to find information for our subject. And like when we went to Yellowstone,
we were right there when they were getting the samples and doing the
science, learned what tests to do. So we were right there, we were
Eric: And I think
you learn more if you have to find the information you need. If it's
in a textbook, it's right there and you know it's there, so you don't
bother to learn it.
Q: Do you guys
have the curiosity to continue your research, to continue studying
under different conditions - not with the mud pots and hot springs,
but like in Antarctica or at the bottom of the sea. Different organisms,
living in different conditions.
Jamie: At home
or back at school, we don't have the resources that we have here,
that we used to find out a lot of what we learned.
Tom: I think Antarctica
would be another good place to do research on, because scientists
have been talking about rocks, meteorites found in Antarctica that
came from Mars, and the possibility of finding evidence of life on
Mars, so I think that would be another interesting place to look into.
Q: If you
were asked where we should look next to find more extremophile life,
where would you recommend?
Jamie: I'd have
to ask them to specify what kind of life they're looking for. It's
such a wide area, and no matter where you look you might find some
kind of life.
anywhere. There isn't really anywhere we can totally rule out. Microorganisms
tend to adapt to live anywhere they can.