18 Jan 2012

Scientists are attempting to get to a lake that exists under 2 miles of Antarctica’s ice.  The lake is called Lake Ellsworth and is 7 miles long by 1 mile wide and 500 feet deep.  This lake is isolated from outside influence for hundreds of thousands of years.  They are expecting to find microorganisms.  Scientists say this is just one of many lakes that have been discovered in the region. 

They began drilling early this year, but work has since stopped and may not resume until November 2012.  They use a hot water drill, one of the largest ever built, with a hose 2.2 miles long.

It would seem logical, that such drilling could be used as a practice and a model for such drilling on many of the ice covered moons, such as Jupiter's Europa.  Europa's ice is actually much thicker at around 6 to 19 miles thick.  NASA hopes to explore and drill such locations via robotic instruments in the near future in similar searches for life, but budget cuts have prevented such missions from occurring, at least for now.

Further details on this topic can be found here.


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