Over the last decade, we have entered the ‘microbiome era,’ marked by a rapid increase in the number of studies exploring the microbial communities that live all around us. Following this trend, the eXtreme Microbiome Project was initiated by a consortium of microbiologists, geneticists, oceanographers and bioinformatics. The overall goal is to map the distribution of microorganisms (including extremophiles) across the globe and space. Various sample locations include ancient microbial biofilms from Antarctica, Ethiopian toxic hot springs, Greenlandic marine deep-water sediments, Lake Hillier in Western Australia, the ‘Door to Hell’ crater in Turkmenistan and the NASA space station. The project focuses on whole genome shotgun sequencing of extreme and unique environments using a wide variety of biomolecular techniques with the intent of discovering new species, genes and gene clusters.