Within the Naica mine in northern Chihuahua, Mexico, you can find 50 foot long crystals. As bizarre as the massive crystals are themselves, it is actually inside of these crystals that NASA has discovered 60,000-year-old microorganisms trapped in a dormant state. The discovery was made by Penelope Boston, the director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, and her team who collected samples from the crystals and managed to activate the dormant bacteria trapped within them.
Over 100 different types of microorganisms were found, most of them different than any life form observed on Earth, until now. The crystals were located above volcanic magma and had been geothermally heated to a temperature of 60ºC. Boston claims that this discovery could raise hopes for the discovery of alien life, since such extremophiles could also survive the harsh conditions of other planets in our solar system.
This discovery however has also raised fear amongst astrobiologists who believe that such extremophiles can survive the sterile conditions of our spacecrafts. The concern is that these microorganisms may potentially contaminate other planets and thus invalidate all our life-detection missions in outer space. Seems pretty out of this world.