Studies of modern biota in Earth's extreme environments provide valuable insights about microbial life as preserved in the rock record since the Archean (e.g., Knoll 1985; Brocks et al. 1999; Xiong et al. 2000; Eigenbrode and Freeman 2006; Kaufmann et al. 2007; Brake and Hasiotis 2008). Paradigms of evolutionary biology on Earth extend to astrobiology, a field that studies the origin, evolution and distribution of extraterrestrial life forms. The goal of space exploration in its pursuit to find life is to “follow the water” (NASA 2008). As such, the presence of “the...

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