Antarctic scientists reach "point of no return" in search for life
THE team of Bristol-led scientists digging 3.5km in a search for life beneath the ice of Antarctica have passed "the point of no return".
The scientists, who began drilling through the ice using a specially designed hot water drill yesterday, this morning reached the point where they would not have enough fuel to restart the process.
A spokesman for the team said: "We are now committed, having gone past the point of no return. If anything stops working now, water could freeze in the pipes and the whole programme could come to a halt.
"So please keep us in your thoughts as we work round the clock for the next seven to 10 days."
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The team of 12 scientists, led by Bristol University's Professor Martin Siegert, are firing hot water at the ice to drill 3.5km beneath the surface – with the aim of inserting a specially-designed probe into the ice-locked Lake Ellsworth – a liquid water lake which has been hidden from the outside world for more than half a million years.
The water in the buried lake is kept liquid by heat from geothermal springs, and the scientists believe life may exist in this most remote environment.
Nobody has ever drilled so deeply through the polar ice sheet before, and it is thought the experiment may revolutionise our understanding of the resilience of life.
Professor Siegert has been planning the extraordinary experiment for 16 years. If the team can prove the microbes exist, it could have implications for astrophysicists' predictions for where life could exist on other planets.