Pacific Science Center

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PacSci-Doku: “Alien Life on Earth”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

Where are scientists looking to find hints about possible life on Mars?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

I  O  E  N  G  S  L  M  D


PacSci-Doku: "Alien Life on Earth"

Puzzle Difficulty: Medium

The Answer

PacSci-Doku: "Alien Life on Earth" AnswerThe question in this edition is:

Where are scientists looking to find hints about possible life on Mars?

The answer: Gold Mines

Nematode worms that are smaller than the head of a pin may seem insignificant. But they become very important when they are found 2 ½ miles deep in gold mines near Johannesburg, South Africa. At that depth, they tolerate temperatures as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and appear to survive off the limited water and bacteria that live that deep underground. Since the discovery of the nematode worms, arthropods, flatworms and miniature crustaceans were found deep underground in gold mines. Until these recent discoveries, only single-celled organisms were thought to live this deep in cracks in the underground rocks. While these creatures reveal much about the nature of life on Earth, they also hint at the possibilities of life on other worlds, especially Mars. Scientists now wonder what life might be found if we dig deep underground on Mars. Read more about the discovery of the nematodes and the scientists associated with the discovery.

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Girl with flowers in her hair using a microscope