A ‘new world’ is found in the depths of Antarctica
February 8, 2013
A team of U.S. researchers reached the Antarctic looking for extreme life, 800 meters under heavy ice at the South Pole, in the dark and cold waters of Lake Whillans, a new world of microscopic life.
Wissard Project experts drilled ice to reach Lake Whillans. They said, “It’s a big bag of liquid water beneath large ice sheets. It is not alone; there are hundreds of sub glacial lakes as Whillans maintained in liquid state due to the heat emitted by the rocks that lie on the bed. And most importantly, that liquid water remained isolated for thousands of years. Hence the interest for defiling the purity in search of microbial life.”
“And for the first time, we can ensure that we find live bacteria, cells with DNA might have lived isolated for 100,000 years. Under the microscope it was found that bacteria show clear signs of life. With chemical test also found that are active and metabolizing energy, according to preliminary results. Under the ice there is no sunlight, so the life of the bacteria depends on the organic material in the lake or from other sources, from minerals in rocks of Antarctica to decomposing microbes.”
The team will need months to identify the microorganisms found in the ten liters of water extracted. For now, it seems discarded, that the sample has been contaminated during removal.
Scientists say: “This biological treasure is the first evidence that life can be found in such extreme conditions as those offered other planets within our solar system. Places like Europe, one of the moons of Jupiter or, why not, under the ice of Mars, where some astrobiologists are convinced that there may be some form of life, even if no oxygen.”