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Researchers to dig for organisms isolated from the world for over 100,000 years

Researchers to dig through 3km of Antarctic ice on the hope of discovering organisms isolated for 10

By Anthony Garreffa from Dec 4, 2012 @ 6:32 CST

It looks as though some UK researchers are about to get a taste of the real The Thing with their latest adventures in one of the harshest environments on the Earth.

The mission leads them to Lake Ellsworth in the Antarctic in the search for life with Lake Ellsworth being 3km (2 miles) below the glacier. The team will have to drill through the ice before December 12 using a high pressure sterile water jet that needs to be heated to 90 degrees Celcius (194 Fahrenheit) and sterilize the patch of lake with intense ultraviolet light before they even attempt to retrieve a sample.

This is all in the mission to find life - and if they do find organisms, it'll be quite the discovery as they've been completely isolated from the outside world for at least 100,000 years according to the team, and most likely - a lot longer. This adventure could help scientists better understand how life evolves on Earth, and even off-planet.


The mission is complicated, as they'll be drilling the deepest borehole ever made with hot water, and will only have 24 hours to sterilize the lake and collect samples before it refreezes. Incredibly exciting!


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