Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic is named for its brilliant colouration. The colour spectrum that ranges from deep blue to burnt red is the product of trillions of thermophiles, or bacterial microorganisms, which flourish in hot waters. Different temperatures determine the hue, and the centre’s blue is the result of extreme heat (70 °C or 160 °F) that leaves the bacteria sterile.
Picture by Werner Van Steen/Getty
Extremophiles are proof of the power of evolution. On Earth, it seems like wherever life could remotely, possibly exist, it does.
And only by studying them, whether they grow in beautiful ponds like this or in the dark, ugly mud at the bottom of ocean vents, we can understand the limits and possibilities of biology.
As Dr. Ian Malcolm reminds us: