Adventures in Science

This is Dr. Penelope Boston. She studies caves, how caves form, and what kinds of life forms live in caves.

(Source)

In order to study caves, Dr. Boston needs to visit and explore them and do field research.

Field research!

What she has learned from her cave studies is that life forms can survive in unusual places. Some of the caves that she visits are completely dark and have poisonous fumes. Most plants and animals could not survive in such extreme environments. She needs to wear special safety gear to protect her skin and eyes and wear a mask with oxygen to breathe. In spite of these harsh conditions, the work of Dr. Boston and others has shown that there are lots of  living things in these weird, dangerous, and unearth-like places. Most of these living things, or microorganisms, are too small to see with just our eyes. These cave dwellers are so freaky and fascinating that they are going to get their own post.

(Link to The Mars Society source of photo above)

In this video Dr. Boston tells us what inspired her to become a cave-exploring scientist:

How cool is that? Studying how life forms evolve in harsh conditions on Earth can help us think about what kind of life we may discover on other planets! The branch of biology (the study of living things) that investigates the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe is called astrobiology. Here is a great set of links to explore astrobiology.

The following video might be challenging and is recommended for teenagers. It is important to include here because Dr. Boston describes what she does and gives us an insight into her wonderful personality and delight in her field of scientific inquiry. Enjoy!

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