Russian scientists disappeared seeking ancient life in underground lake Vostok
The scientific community is holding its breath for a team of Russian scientists that has been out of contact with colleagues in the U.S for six days, as they drill into a lake buried beneath the Antarctic ice for 20 million years.
They have to evacuate their station by Tuesday – when winter proper kicks in and temperatures start to drop to an inhospitable minus 90C.
The scientists are currently battling conditions of up to minus 66C at Lake Vostok as they raced to drill into a lake buried two miles beneath the ice before the weather closed in.
The team from Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) have been drilling for weeks in an effort to reach isolated Lake Vostok, a vast, dark body of water hidden 13,000 ft. below the ice sheet’s surface. The lake hasn’t been exposed to air in more than 20 million years.
Geothermal heat under the ice keeps the lake liquid, and its conditions are often described as ‘alien’ because they are thought to be akin to the subterranean lakes on Jupiter’s moon Europa.
The water inside the lake will have had no contact with man-made pollutants or Earthly life forms for millions of years. Valery Lukin, chief of the Russian Antactic Expedition, said last month: ‘We do not know what is waiting for us down there.’
The world is now waiting on tenterhooks to hear what has become of the explorers.
Read more: DailyMail