Scientists Bore Into Antarctic Lake

    Giant tabular icebergs surrounded by ice floe drift in Vincennes Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory on January 11, 2008. Australia's CSIRO's atmospheric research unit has found the world is warming faster than predicted by the United Nations' top climate change body, with harmful emissions exceeding worst-case estimates.    AFP PHOTO/POOL/Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

    Torsten Blackwood, AFP / Getty Images

    In the coldest spot on the planet, Russian scientists on Wednesday drilled into an ancient lake in Antarctica located 12,366 feet below the planet’s icy surface. Drilling through the miles of ice took an entire decade, causing mission leader Valery Lukin to liken the breakthrough to the first space flight—“by technological complexity, by importance, by uniqueness.” Lake Vostok, as it is named, is one of 280 Antarctic lakes that have been sealed under miles of ice for 15 to 34 million years. Clues suggest there may have been life in the lakes, which would aid the search for life on Jupiter's icy moons. Scientists had been racing against the clock to reach the lake by the end of the Antarctic summer, and plan to return next year to begin the search for another lake.

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