Underground Antarctic Lake
A few weeks ago a giant step was taken for those searching for the origins of life as Lake Vostok in Antarctica has finally been reached. Russian scientists from Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) have been drilling to reach the freshwater lake for over 20 years. The lake has been covered by ice for over 20 million years.
In an article by the Chicago Sun Times researcher Lev Savatyugin from AARI noted that “There is no other place on Earth that has been in isolation for more than 20 million years.” Savatyugin said scientists hope to find primeval bacteria that could expand the human knowledge of the origins of life. “We need to see what we have here before we send missions to ice-crusted moons, like Jupiter’s moon Europa,” he said (http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/10508218-418/russian-scientists-reach...),
Scientists hope to see if the water will support microbial life and provide an insight to the evolutionary path from over 20 million years age, even before the Ice Age. Yet if life is found in the underground lake it will help prove that life can live under extreme conditions. If that is the case, planets or moons with the right conditions similar to earth might be able to support life no mater how extreme the conditions like constant chilled temperatures and high pressure. Both Jupiter’s moons Callisto and Europa are both crusted in ice, while Mars has a variety of polar ice caps that may very well contain liquid water that would support bacterial and microbial life.