Nathalie A. Cabrol gave a talk at the TED Conference in Vancouver, BC, March 17, 2015

Nathalie @ TED
Nathalie @ TED
Conversations with microbes. Planetary explorer Nathalie Cabrol delves into some of the biggest questions of the universe: How did Earth come to have life? Are we alone in the universe? And how soon can we find out? To learn the answers to these questions, she explores extreme biology and environmental conditions on Earth that have recently been found teeming with microbial life. Now that scientists have found life thriving in extreme conditions on Earth, there has been a revolution in our understanding of what a habitable planet is. This revolutionary idea has led to new questions and the idea that life on other planets is likely. “We are the only advanced life form in the solar system, but that does not mean there is no microbial life nearby,” says Cabrol. The Red Planet is one strong possibility in the planetary neighborhood, since it shares our geological heritage. “Mars and Earth threw rocks at each other for a very long time,” she notes. To find out more about the origins of life on either planet, she will continue to explore high-elevation extreme environments on Earth. She’s optimistic about what we’ll find off Earth in the relatively near future. “There is no life possible at the surface of Mars today, but it might still be hiding underground.”