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In Pictures

The methane ice worm Hesiocaeca methanicola.
Extreme Life: Spinning the Strange Tales of Exotic Life-forms and the Scientists Who Study Them

The image above depicts a methane ice worm Hesiocaeca methanicola. Scientists discovered this organism in 1997 living on and within mounds of methane ice on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.  Some astrobiologists hypothesize that organisms like it might survive in the subsurface ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa. UMass Amherst English professor and science writer David Toomey tells the tale in Weird Life, where he writes of Earthly organisms that thrive in the most extreme conditions and speculation about what might exist in the far reaches of the universe. Learn more.

Photo credit: Courtesy of NOAA