Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Follow up on Lake Vostok on this page

Valery Lukin, the head of Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in charge of the mission, said that his team reached the lake' surface.
There is no other place on Earth that has been in isolation for more than 20 million years.
It's a meeting with the unknown.
Savatyugin said that 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-crust moons, like Jupiter's moon Europa.
The project, however, has drawn strong fears that 60 metric tons (66 tons) of lubricants and antifreeze used in the drilling may contaminate the pristine lake, which is roughly the size of Lake Ontario in Canada.
The Russian researchers have insisted that the bore would only slightly touch the lake's surface and a surge in pressure will send the water rushing up the shaft where it will freeze, immediately sealing out the toxic chemicals.
Lukin said in a statement that about 1.5 cubic metres of kerosene and freon poured into tanks on the surface from the boreshaft, proof that the lake water streamed from beneath, froze, and blocked the hole.
The scientists will later remove the frozen sample for analysis in December when the next Antarctic summer comes.
Lake Vostok, about 3.8 kilometres (2.4 miles) beneath the surface, is the largest in a web of nearly 400 known subglacial lakes in Antarctica.
Scientists in other nations hope to follow up with similar projects.
Researchers believe that microbial life may exist in the dark depths of the lake despite high pressure and constant cold - conditions similar to those expected to be found under ice crust on Mars, Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's move Enceladus.

No comments: