In 1981 when the most startling example of extremophilic microorganisms known was possibly M radiodurans, Fred Hoyle and I wrote this in “Evolution from Space” :
“Bacteria are found occupying tiny specialised niches. Thus J.G. Zeikus and R.S. Wolfe(3) isolated a highly thermophylic methanogenic bacterium which required conditions for replication that were very peculiar, namely an atmosphere with a 4 to 1 mixture of free hydrogen to carbon dioxide and a temperature of at least 40oC. The optimum temperature for growth was 65oC and free oxygen had to be strictly absent. It may be wondered where on the Earth such conditions exist. The answer is in sewage sludge, a product of modern industrial society.
Such cases fit well with our picture. The cycle of (Fig 1) contains bacteria with the ability to exist in a range of environments much wider than anything found on the Earth. Bacteria arrive here from space with the full range of cosmic properties, and terrestrial conditions simply filter out the restricted subset that can survive when they arrive at ground-level. The subset depends on available chemical – rocks, soils, ocean water with its dissolved contents, mine tailing, sewage sludge, volcanic hot springs, birds nest and so on. Whenever any new environment, however specialised or small it may be, arises either from natural or manmade causes, new bacteria from the wide spectrum of cosmic possibilities are available to take advantage of it.”
My full comments can be seen by clicking on the PDF here : READ MORE
PS This PDF was written by me today, as a 2018 comment on this recent piece : http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/microbes-found-one-earth-s-most-hostile-places-giving-hope-life-mars