We don't to know much about organisms living deep below the Earth's crust. Recently a team led by S. Giovanni discovered some microbes 300 m below the ocean floor. The microbes were found to be a completley new and exotic species and apparently they feed off hydrocarbons like methane and benzene. Scientists speculate that life may exist in our Solar System far below the surface of some planets or moons. This raises some questions:
What is the theoretical minimum distance from Earth's core where life can still exist. Please explain how you came up with this number. For example, there are temperature-imposed limits on many biochemical processes.
Is there the potential to discover some truly alien life forms in the Earth's mantle (by this I mean, life which is not carbon based, or life which gets its energy in ways we have not seen before, or non DNA-based life, or something along these lines)?
What is the greatest distance below the Earth's crust that life has been discovered? I believe it is the 300 m I cited above, but I am not 100% sure.