This educational product includes a set of trading cards featuring nine different extremophile groups. The front of each card has an image of an environment in which the extremophiles thrive (e.g. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone for the thermophiles). The back of each card has a small photo of a representational organism (e.g. Deinococcus radiodurans for the radioresistant microbes) and engaging text about each group’s “Extreme Abilities”, “Extreme Environments” and “Extreme Examples”. The trading cards were developed by the former NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) team at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Life in the Extremes
Astrobiology Extremophile Trading Cards
An Introduction to Extremophiles
Extremophiles are organisms that live in places on Earth that humans would consider “extreme.” Hot spring pools, glaciers, the bottom of the ocean – these are all environments that we might have a hard time living in, but the organisms featured on these cards feel right at home there. Astrobiologists are interested in extremophiles here on Earth because they study similar environments on other planets and moons that may have extremophiles, too. Download this card (pdf)
These salt lovers live in places like the Great Salt Lake in Utah and Owens Lake in California. Download this card (pdf)
These cold-loving microbes live in places like Arctic soils, deep ocean water, and glaciers. Download this card (pdf)
Acidophiles survive in very acidic environments where pH rarely rises above 3. Download this card (pdf)
Radioresistant extremophiles consistently survive doses of radiation that are 500 times greater than the lethal dose for humans. Download this card (pdf)
Barophiles can live in highly pressurized places such as the bottom of the ocean floor near hot vents. Whereas most living creatures cannot survive the extreme forces that exist below the Earth’s surface and on the sea floor, these microbes thrive under high pressure. Download this card (pdf)
Alkaliphiles thrive in substances that are alkaline and typically have pH values ranging from 9 to 11. Download this card (pdf)
Xerophiles can grow and reproduce in conditions with little water available. Download this card (pdf)
Thermophiles have developed special proteins that allow them to tolerate a broad range of temperatures – some even require temperatures around 140°F to exist at all. Download this card (pdf)
Endoliths make their homes inside rocks and can live for hundreds of years by feeding on the traces of iron, phosphorus, and sulfur in their host rocks.
Explore amazing extremophile microorganisms with the Life in the Extremes trading cards from the NASA Astrobiology Program. Download this card (pdf)
Life in the Extremes Legend
Click here to download the legend for the complete set of Life in the Extremes trading cards.