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From acidic hot springs to glaciers atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, some of the most hostile environments on Earth have been found to be habitable. Unravelling how these extremophiles thrive in such harsh conditions can advance our understanding across a myriad of important research areas. In addition, clear parallels can be drawn to the possibility of a habitable extra-terrestrial environment, and the implications of climate change. A selection of Scientific Reports papers, outlining the diversity and application of extremophiles, are here presented.