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Wednesday 23 February 2011


Here are two photographs that Paul Jackson took on his trip to the USA a couple of years ago. The picture above shows the remains of a small town in Mono County, California called Bodie -- one of America's's best preserved Ghost Towns. The town reached its peak during the 19th century Gold Rush, then fell into decline and was ultimately abandoned. However, despite the lack of living inhabitants, the town is reputed to be home to numerous ghosts and spirits... so it really is a ghost town!

The picture below shows Mono Lake, about 20 miles from Bodie. Strange as it may seem, this lake is of great interest to astrobiologists (who spend most of their time thinking about other planets), because of its unusually high salinity and alkalinity. This means the only organisms found living in the lake are "extremophiles" -- able to exist in environments that would be fatal to most Earth life. A NASA research team recently discovered a bacterium (which they called GFAJ-1) living in Mono Lake that appears capable of metabolizing arsenic, which is normally a deadly poison!

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