Check out this really cool story about a Russian scientific team drilling into an underground lake in Antarctica. The lake has been underground and isolated from the rest of the world for over 20 million years. The team is hoping to see if there could be unique bacteria or other lifeforms living in the water. If the lake has been able to support life somehow, it could mean that life could be possible on other planets with similar icy climates.
I know some of you might be thinking about the environmental impacts in such a remote, pristine location. The Russians admitted that there was some risk of contaminating the lake with the emmense amount of lubricant and machine oil that is used to run the drilling equipment. However, they had hoped that the pressure in the lake would cause the water to shoot upwards and prevent these contaminants from going into the lake. The good news is that everything went as planned, and so far there has been no contamination.
It has taken over a decade for these scientists to accomplish this, and even though they have finally achieved their goals, further study will have to wait until next year because the Antarctic winter is about to start. I can’t even imagine working in Antarctica. I love our Colorado winters, but I think even Antarctic summers would be a little too intense for me!
-written by Rachel Burmeister, Internship Coordinator 2011-2012