Water Could Hold Living Microbes
In Antarctica home of the amazing Mt. Vinson Massif, an amazing discovery was made! Water could hold living microbes! Take a look below at this article from the Associated Press.
Opening a scientific frontier miles under the Antarctic ice, Russian experts drilled down and finally reached the surface of a gigantic freshwater lake, an achievement the mission chief likened to placing a man on the moon.
Lake Vostok could hold living organisms that have been locked in icy darkness for some 20 million years, as well as clues to the search for life elsewhere in the solar system.
Touching the surface of the lake, the largest of nearly 400 sub glacial lakes in Antarctica, came after more than two decades of drilling and was a major achievement avidly anticipated by scientists around the world.
"In the simplest sense, it can transform the way we think about life," NASA's chief scientist, Waleed Abdalati, told the Associated Press in an email Wednesday.
The Russian team made contact with the lake water Sunday at a depth of 12,366 feet, about 800 miles east of the South Pole in the central part of the continent.
Scientists hope the lake might allow a glimpse into microbial life forms that existed before the Ice Age and are not visible to the naked eye. Scientists believe that microbial life may exist in the dark depths of the lake despite its high pressure and constant cold - conditions similar to those believed to e under the ice crust on Mars, Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus.
Valery Lunkin, the head of Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, said reaching the lake was akin to the Americans winning the space race in 1969.
"I think it's fair to compare this project to flying to the moon,"said Lukin, who oversaw the mission and announced its success."