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Life Without Sunlight

In 1977, a group of scientists photographing the seafloor from R/V Knorr came across an astounding sight: hot water pouring from hydrothermal vents teeming with life. Their discovery fundamentally changed our view of the planet and of life on it. Not only did scientists better understand how the ocean could maintain its chemical equilibrium over long periods of time, they also learned that life could evolve to survive without the help of sunlight and photosynthesis. This Sunday, join Dr. Robert Ballard, chief scientist on that cruise of discovery, at “Life Without Sunlight,” a live-streamed public event to mark 40 years since our view of life on Earth changed—and what that could mean for the search for life beyond Earth.

(Photo courtesy of Stefan Sievert, WHOI/NSF/HOV Alvin, ©2014 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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