Scientists Have Broken Through To Earth’s Ancient Buried Lake

Lake Vostok in  Antarctica  has remained in isolation for 20 million years. However, Russian scientists are saying they’ve broken through and made contact with the lake. What is forthcoming is clearly going to be a real-life reenactment of The Thing.


Yesterday,  reports originating from Ria Novosti  – a state-run, Russian news agency – began to circulate, indicating that the twenty-year mission to reach Vostok’s ice-entombed waters had finally reached its goal. Other media outlets were quick to  pick up the news  as well, citing an unnamed scientific source, who claimed that, “Yesterday [February, 5], our scientists stopped drilling at the depth of 3,768 meters and reached the surface of the sub-glacial lake.”

Whether the team has finally drilled through to the Lake, however, remains to be seen. Is it likely? Yes. A spokesperson from theRussian Antarctic Expedition  in St. Petersburg  told New Scientist this morningthat the drill did make contact with water last week, and that the water was automatically drawn up into the borehole, as planned.

But the team must now check the water levels in the borehole, and readings from their equipment’s pressure sensors, to confirm that the water is, in fact, from Vostok – and  notfrom a pocket of water in the layers of ice overlaying the lake. The fact that this confirmation process is ongoing probably explains why there is still no official announcement on  the website of Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute  (the government agency that heads up the country’s polar science expeditions). Valery Lukin, director of the Russian Antarctic Program, told  Nature  this morning that  the team’s data could be processed by as early as tomorrow.

In any case, even if the lake has been breached, it will still be almost a year before Russia’s scientists have an opportunity to address the question that everyone is so anxious to know the answer to: whether Vostok’s pitch-black waters – which have been cut off from light for millions of years – harbor any weird new life forms. If they do, it would strengthen the prospect of discovering exoplanetary life in the subsurface waters of  Jupiter’s moon Europa,  Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and any other cosmic bodies that harbor water, subglacial or otherwise.

Fucking rad! I loved the movie, I look forward to a glorious morphing alien species tearing up some dumb ass scientists.