BOSTON (CBS) - Bad news? No need to be reminded. Senseless violence, hatred, mistrust and human agony leads evening newscasts and has spread across all media platforms. Want to have a better overall day? Take a bad news break. Pay attention elsewhere for a while. I for one search for the buried treasures in news, stories that allow me to retain a sense of hope and balance. I highly recommend the practice.
There's a report I discovered that appeared primarily in science journals and garnered little attention. I invite you to let go and involve your intellectual curiosity. You might find it stimulating AND soothing.
A team of diligent scientists drilling a half mile through Antarctic ice has made a remarkable discovery. The lake below said ice is packed with living things---a slew of new species that appear to defy current biology.
The fact that light has not been present beneath this lake in over 100,000 years is one thing. Meaning where does life receive the energy necessary to spawn? The more amazing news is that researchers have confirmed nearly 4,000 new species exist in this barren environment.
What makes these single celled creatures so fascinating is not only that we've just now stumbled upon them. It's what we have learned about how they feed, grow and survive. Unlike most other life forms on the planet these as yet unnamed species, the first to be retrieved from a sub glacial Antarctic lake, actually consume rock to survive. They have found a method of living and thriving on minerals such as iron and ammonium for energy. This is a similar life plan that deep sea creatures employ living in the ocean depths so deep along the ocean floor.
The implications are mind-blowing in this respect. If on earth we finally have evidence of life gaining sustenance from minerals and rock this certainly should help settle the question as to whether life on other planets is possible. It is a lock in my opinion that life exists in huge numbers throughout the galaxy, given the makeup of planets in our neighborhood, the ones we know a little something about.
This winter the science team is heading back to take more samples hoping to discover small animals living under similar conditions. Whatever their future findings, this much is certain. Despite the odds, life continues to thrive here on earth, learning to adapt in ways most trained scientists would have never imagined.
Shouldn't this be THE story of the week? Sure gets one to think about the complexity, awe and wonder of our world. So much apart from the self-inflicted horror and pain that bombards our screens.
I'm reminded of our brave astronaut corps, many of whom often reflected on the delicate nature of earth from their unique vantage point thousands of miles away in space. In December 1968, Frank Borman said this…
"When you're finally up at the moon looking back on earth, all of those differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend, and you're going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can't we learn to live together like decent people."
Perspective matters when we ponder our place on this incredible planet.
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