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luni, 22 octombrie 2012

So Far, No Life Found In Buried Antarctic Lake

Earlier this year, a team of Russian scientists completed a technological first – they successfully drilled to the surface of Antarctica’s Lake Vostok. The lake is buried under ice that’s over 2 and a half miles thick – meaning that any life that might still exist in the lake hasn’t been seen on the surface for thousands of years.

In February, when the drill reached the lake’s surface, the pressure differential caused water to shoot up close to 40 meters up the borehole. At that point, the water froze, and the team waited a few months to collect it. Now they have collected it – and the results are so far a disappointment.

Based on “very preliminary results,” Sergey Bulat reported to the 12th European Workshop on Astrobiology that the water found in the lake was lifeless so far.

That won’t stop the team of scientists, however. They plan on doing more drilling in December and January. That will let them collect new samples in May. The team is hopeful that at lower depths, life might yet be found. Stay tuned.

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