Scientists Find Life Under Antarctic Ice

First discovery of its kind


For the first time, scientists report that they have found bacteria living deep under the Antarctic ice in a network of underground lakes. An expedition drilled through half a mile of ice into the 23-square-mile, five-foot-deep Lake Whillans to recover water and sediment samples. Within the samples they discovered living cells. The extremophile bacteria, which survive without sunlight, could offer new information on how life could develop in similar conditions on other celestial bodies.

Montana State University’s John Priscu, calling in from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, said that every precaution has been taken to prevent contamination of the lake with bacteria from the surface. Last year, Russian scientists claimed to have found life in Antarctica’s Lake Vostok, two miles deep, but were forced to admit the possibility of contamination from kerosene drilling fluid.

Via New York Times