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Desulforudis audaxviator

SciShorts: This Bacterium Species Feeds off Nuclear Energy

Desulforudis audaxviator is a type of bacteria that lives 3 kilometers beneath the earth’s surface in groundwater. It survives in a completely dark environment with temperatures soaring up to 60°C. What’s fascinating, however, is that it utilizes nuclear energy instead of the energy given by the sun to thrive in the darkness. The energy is provided by Uranium in the rocks around it. It helps break down water molecules leading to more chemical reactions helping the species produce and store energy. Scientists are now studying the bacterium to further understand how extraterrestrial life could possibly exist outside our planet – especially in Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.