Q: Did you learn anything new, or did you just touch base with what you already knew?

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.

Q: Suppose 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.

Justin: Better than books.

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 hands-on.

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 about this?

Justin: maybe 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.

Tom: Probably anywhere. There isn't really anywhere we can totally rule out. Microorganisms tend to adapt to live anywhere they can.