miercuri, 18 mai 2011

Lake Vostok

Russians search for life in a prehistoric lake hidden beneath the Antarctic ice.

Russian scientists have yet to dig 50 meters until you reach what they hope to be an ecosystem of 15 million years unchanged. It's sub-glacial Lake Vostok, at about 4,000 feet hidden under the Antarctic ice cap.

Protected by insulating layer of ice, Lake Vostok neschimnat remained for more than 15 million years. Nothing out of the lake, nothing came. Thus, once he can explore this environment, Russian scientists hope to meet yet unknown forms of life. "It's like I work on a different planet where nobody has ever set foot. We do not know what we find there, "said Vice Arctic and Antarctic Research Center of Russia, Valery Lukin.

How hot season in the southern continent of the planet is running out, been digging for outstanding team around the clock to take advantage of beautiful weather. Researchers will leave the place on February 6, the window of time that planes can still land in Antarctica. Then, temperatures could drop even up to minus 80 degrees.

In fact, the coldest temperature recorded on Earth was even at Vostok, in 1983, when the thermometer showed minus 89 degrees. Normally there is only ice here, but in the '70s British scientists have recorded the presence of water cameras.
Only hypothesis was confirmed in 1996 when satellite images clearly showed the presence of fresh water at a depth of 4,000 meters, as well as extending the perimeter of the lake. It has a depth of 800 meters and an area of ​​10,000 square meters.

The ice samples collected so far, researchers have already discovered the bacteria which are similar think you will discover the lake itself.

If life forms are found in Lake Vostok, scientists will be able to get an idea about what might find in an eventual expedition to Jupiter's moon, Europa. And here, scientists believe that under the ice cap there is an ocean of liquid water formed.

This stretch of water was discovered in mid 1970 and contains fresh water (it was never explored). The lake was discovered thanks to observations of a satellite has detected a large cavity around Lake Ontario as Corsica or in the middle of Antarctica!

Lake Vostok is isolated from the surface through the ice last ice age 35 million years ago and since then has seen the light of heaven. What he means is an ecological system that has evolved in parallel with the Earth from the "surface" that we know. And it's not alone: ​​there are several sub-Antarctic lakes, water pockets, almost everywhere, scattered across the great white continent.

Scientists are about to reveal secrets of the cosmos and our planet's past.

So far, Russia has stopped drilling for states that hid the waters of Lake Vostok, 14 million years old. The reason is near the Antarctic winter. Everything will resume in December.

There are only 30 meters to be drilled to reach water of the lake hidden. For the hole already made ​​not to freeze, kerosene is poured inside her, Popular Science magazine informs.

There is a danger that this oil to pollute the lake, making researchers' work unnecessary. Which was drilled to depth is 3749 m, working 24 hours a day is. This lake will provide valuable scientific information about the cosmos, he is similar to Jupiter and Saturn moons Enceladus and Europa.

He will also reveal unknown things about it was the Miocene, and is looking forward astrobiologii when it reaches its water. The surface temperature was recorded at the site record of -53.8 degrees Celsius, 21 July 1983.

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