From the March 2010 issue

Life at the extremes

If the organisms that scientists have found at Earth's extremes are any indication, life on other worlds could be pretty weird.
By | Published: March 29, 2010
May 2010 extremophiles(2)
Flat pinkish “ice worms” colonize mounds of yellow-orange methane ice on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Methane seeping from deep sources forms ice-like “hydrate” deposits under high pressure. Ice worms do not consume the hydrate themselves. Instead, they appear to graze on bacteria living off the methane.
Pennsylvania State University

Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe — on Earth and on other worlds. To understand life “out there,” scientists first need to understand life here.