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Paper: The Significance of Light-Independent Ecosystems in the Search for
Volume: 213, Bioastronomy '99: A New Era in Bioastronomy
Page: 397
Authors: Santini, Francesco; Galleni, Lodovico
Abstract: The possibility of the existence of life beyond the planet Earth has always fascinated humankind. However, due to certain circumstances such as the failure of the Viking expeditions, and the understanding that the presence of life would lead to drastic alterations in the atmosphere of the carrying planet, (alterations that have never been detected on other planets and planetoids of the solar system), the belief that our planet is the only planet to sustain life inside the solar system originated. At the end of the seventies, a series of complex biological communities, both in the deep-sea and inside caves isolated from the external biosphere, were discovered. These communities were found to depend entirely on geothermal energy instead of light energy for their survival. This discovery gave us new evidence and hope that life might exist not only on other planets, but perhaps even in other planetoids of the solar system. This might be possible since life can exist on other areas than the surface of a planet, and these areas would be extremely difficult to identify.
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