Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. Lonne Lane is an astrobiologist whose search for life in the most inhospitable and alien environments has often taken him into deep waters. Recently there was a dive to the scalding waters and complete darkness of hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean floor, at the invitation of Academy award winning director James Cameron. Lane and a special optical instrument used to detect chemical signatures of life, built by Lane and his colleagues at JPL, were featured in Cameron's movie, Aliens of the Deep.
A foremost question in Lane's work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was whether simple biological species can exist within the hot water vents? "If so," says Lane, "what are the temperature limits for their survival and what are the chemical conditions they need for growth?"
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