Nearly a mile underground in the Northeast part of England, there are crystals and life, so that’s where Dr. Aaron Celestian traveled.
Aaron went to the Boulby Mine, the deepest mine in all of the United Kingdom at approximately 1.4 km (0.9 miles) deep.
Aaron was part of a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab team to go deep underground in search of bacteria and determine if they are alive or dead.
If they are viable, then what is the mineral-microbe interaction?
What role do minerals have in life preservation?
Also, from where did these halobacteria come?
Were they part of the original salt rocks, did they come from somewhere else, did humans bring them from the surface?
So many questions that need answers; but they are all important because they will help with the search for life outside of Earth.
Aaron Celestian is Curator of Mineral Sciences at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Affiliate Research Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, and member of the Origins and Habitability Lab. He researches how minerals interact with their environments and with living things, and how those minerals can be used to solve problems like climate change, pollution, and disease.