Science: Life in Time & Space

Two questions about life are asked over and over again. How long can organisms cling to the spark of life? Does life exist elsewhere than on earth? Last week scientists attempted to answer both questions—and thereby raised a scholarly scientific controversy.

In West Germany's highly respected Zentralblatt für Bacteriologie, Bacteriologist Heinz J. Dombrowski reported that he had revived dehydrated bacteria preserved in rock salt since the Permian Period 180 million years ago. In Britain's Nature, Dr. George Claus of New York University Medical Center and Chemistry Professor Bartholomew Nagy of Fordham University reported finding dead organisms that may have ridden in from...

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