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  • Image: from Shokoku meisho hyakkei by Hiroshige II (Chinpei Suzuki), 1860.
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    Lichens, thale cress, tobacco, the great survivors…

    It is often said that cockroaches are one of the hardiest of animals, allegedly able to withstand a nuclear holocaust. Well, serious contenders amongst the plant-like critters are lichens, thale cress and tobacco. Rhizocarpon geographicum and Xanthoria elegans have both survived a 1.5-year extraterrestrial sojourn aboard the International Space Station according to work by Silvano Onofri et […] More

  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.
    in

    Black is the new… er… green?

    What colour are plants? No, not a stupid question, but I bet you were tempted to answer ‘green’? Which is fair enough; chlorophyll is the major pigment in plants and consequently they do tend to appear green. But! This is almost a knee-jerk, Pavlovian, conditioned response because we are geo-centric in our thinking and experiences. What […] More