Feb 17, 2012
Life Forms in Antarctic Could Prove Alien Life
Written under: Science
A Russian team recently broke through 12,365 feet of solid Antarctic ice last week and reached an ancient buried freshwater lake.
Now scientists saw parallels between Antarctica’s subterranean Lake Vostok and other suspected oceans beneath the ice-crusted moons of Jupiter and Saturn, which now made scientists suspect of possible life beyond Earth are eagerly following the Russian project.
They don’t expect water samples from Lake Vostok will hold alien life, though any life it contains may have taken a slightly different evolutionary path than what appears on the planet today.
That’s because Lake Vostok, the deepest and most isolated of Antarctica’s subglacial lakes, has been cut off from the atmosphere for at least 14 million years.
The lakes, which were discovered via satellite imagery in the late 1990s, owe their existence to the thick Antarctic ice, which acts like a blanket to trap heat coming from inside Earth, keeping water liquid.
“If they find evidence of life there — and I do think Lake Vostok has life in it — it’s going to be Earth-like,” astrobiologist Dale Andersen, with the SETI Institute’s Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, told Discovery News.