back to article Russians drill into buried 20 million-year-old Antarctic lake

Russian scientists have drilled through to a 20-million-year-old lake under Antarctica, which, depending on who you listen to, could harbour alien life forms, prehistoric microbes or Hitler's secret hideout. An artist's cross-section of Lake Vostok An artist's cross-section of Lake Vostok. Credit: US National Science …

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Joke

observation

“According to our research, the quantity of oxygen there exceeds that on other parts of our planet by 10 to 20 times. Any lifeforms that we find are likely to be unique on Earth,” - Sergey Bula

and suffocate.

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Indeed

An atmosphere that is 200% - 400% oxygen? I'd say they're more likely to be on fire, and squished flat.

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Anonymous Coward

The amount of oxygen in water is tyipcally in single figures parts per million. So let's say it's 5ppm. So 10-20 times that is 50-100ppm. They won't be on fire.

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Happy

Underwater fire!

That would be very cool...

(Perhaps the extra O2 would balance out the nasty CO2 we have to keep climbing over, so it's not all bad news!)

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Joke

Bankers

"Let's hope the Russians also plan to check whether their scientists have been taken over by parasitic lifeforms"

We'll only know that is the case if they start talking about bonuses and how hard done by they are.

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@John

They've been taken over by a parasitic lifeform in 2000. It's called Влади́мир Пу́тин.

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Drilling

Drilling through ice? Kerosene? Hot water? 30 years?

Where's the frickin' laser beams when you need them?

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Would that environmentally friendly freon be the same freon that purportedly kills the ozone layer?

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Unhappy

Beneath all the ice lies...

... not The Thing, not aliens, not Hitler's hideout, not Hitler's corpse, not deadly microbes, not C'thulhu. Beneath all the ice lies... my wife's sex drive.

There.

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Nope, too easy

I was going to make a rather pertinant remark about heavy drilling being needed but decided it would be inappropriate.

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Anonymous Coward

@Miguel, fixed it for you

"... my wife's sex drive regarding me."

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You might even say

...she's a little cold towards him, or possibly even frigid.

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed

She seems OK whenever I see her.

Gives me a biscuit, all that kind of thing.

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If that's the case....

Shouldn't you be happily thanking the Russians for digging it up for you?

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Joke

@Miguel

You actually married a snow woman?

(sorry, couldn't resist!)

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Joke

Waiter! This ice cube's got a hole in it!

That's no ice cube Sir, that's my wife!

/boom *tish*

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Coat

That snow woman, that's a ...........................

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Holmes

Never mind the lake, what about the terrain it's on top of?

If I understand correctly, beneath the ice and beneath the lake itself, there's a (frozen) soil layer. It'll probably take several centuries to develop the technology to do this, but what about looking for fossils in there, from before the time Antarctica froze up?

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> what about looking for fossils in there

It's easier to do that where the rocks are exposed at the surface. I don't see why any pre-glacial fossils would be significantly different there.

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Silver badge

"blasting radiation all round"

And before long we'll have discovered the radiation resistant killer bacteria.

Seriously though, I'd be more concerned that contamination from our biosphere will exterminate any potential life down there.

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Stop

Pollution

Well, at least kerosene is essentially natural and unlike freon isn't going to add to the ozone hole above Antartica.

However, surely the big contamination risk is from microbes picked up by the drill, on the surface or on the way down. I hope the drill's irradiated on the way in. By all means drill the first 22km with a mechanical drill, but please bore the last 22m with a frickin' laser.

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Mushroom

Um.... I don't like those maths.

According to what I have read.... they should have frozen samples from the lake in 10 months time..... I do wish it had taken them another month..... because by my reckoning now + 10 months is December....

When does the world end again?

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Coat

by my reckoning

03:14:08 on the 19th of January 2038

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I'm prepared to bet you

a large sum of money that the world will NOT end on December 21 2012. Shall we say one hundred beeelion dollars, to be paid on the 22nd?

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Devil

Obviously what's down there is a huge pyramid, built by Predators and containing Aliens, bred for their amusement.

It'll all end in tears, I tell ya!

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Silver badge

Or a Krynoid.

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g e

Instructional videos

For people who like to dig up old shit and zap stuff with radiation...

The Thing

The Mummy

The Incredible Hulk

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Trollface

You're missing the spider that bit Peter Parker.

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JDX
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@Loyal Commenter

>>An atmosphere that is 200% - 400% oxygen?

What part of "lake" did you not understand

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Silver badge

Maybe the bit that said:

"According to our research, the quantity of oxygen there exceeds that on other parts of our planet by 10 to 20 times."

Other parts of the planet including, presumably, bits that aren't sub-glacial lakes?

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JDX
Gold badge

@Loyal Commenter

Maybe the bit that said: #

"According to our research, the quantity of oxygen there exceeds that on other parts of our planet by 10 to 20 times."

Other parts of the planet including, presumably, bits that aren't sub-glacial lakes?

So you're saying it's relevant to compare the oxygen content of a lake with the atmosphere rather than other bodies of water? We could compare it with the oxygen content of an orange, a KitKat or your head but those figures would be equally irrelevant.

And even your own logic doesn't support your argument because "our planet" is not "the atmosphere"; in fact the atmosphere is only a tiny, tiny part of the planet.

Sometimes it's less embarrassing to admit you made a mistake.

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Anonymous Coward

Polonium should do the job - they've tested it already.

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Anonymous Coward

Also for the friends of the earth

oxygen rich....well millions of years before we started pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, which part of natural phenomenom did you not understand?

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Thumb Down

Actually, Gaia loves CO2....

For the record, we're currently living in a period of exceptionally low CO2 levels, by normal Earth standards. The only notable period with similiarly low CO2 levels is the Carboniferous Period, during which, ironically, all our coal was laid down.

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Headmaster

Redundant much?

"completely unique". Grrrrrrrrrr.

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Devil

What's that I hear?

Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

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Black Helicopters

Actually glad the Reg is slightly late with this one

As it gives them the chance to report on more than just that silly Russian press release - although I'm glad they point out those Nazi conspiracy theories.

The full thing can be read here: http://en.rian.ru/science/20120206/171176587.html

"a scientific source" then hardly any details then 3 paragraphs about the Nazis.

This was so bizarre - esp. after a week of radio silence from the scientists's camp that I spent most of my day yesterday wondering what had really happened.

And yes most of my theories involved Elder ones, or the city or R'lyeh, or ghouls, shoggoths etc..

Then New Scientist reported that they have indeed hit water, quoting the scientist on the expedition who explained they hit water, but couldn't be sure it was the lake they reached yet. And quashed all my theories :/

The BBC also chose not to report the original press release, but I saw it on way too many reputable newspapers websites, as well as the Daily Mail - the first part anyway, not the Nazi conspiracy. Surely if you're going to quote a dodgy press release, then please don't leave out the dodgiest bits as it will help me make my mind up. Shame on them all.

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Silver badge

Bah!

I gave up decent air conditioning so the Russians could eat the Ozone layer with this daft Moholesque stunt?

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Linux

The last contact from the Russian base just consisted of TEKELI-LI ... TEKELI-LI ...over and over again.

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Pirate

New life forms?

Hardly, first thing they will do is kill them and chop them up to see how they used to work.

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Holmes

@Iain Leadley

Well, if were the Chinese doing the 'research', they'd be chopping them up and trying them for nutritional value.

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Anonymous Coward

The Japanese...

Catching them for "scientific research," after which, hey, might just as well eat them.

/Another/ round of stereotypes, anybody?

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Thumb Up

All the answers....

....are in WA Harbinson excellent Projekt Saucer series.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Phoenix-Projekt-Saucer-W-Harbinson/dp/0450617513/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1328717956&sr=8-2

There five in the series.

Great Sci-fi reads!

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Anonymous Coward

And I started reading Ice Station by Matthew Reilley just this morning!

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Alien

A large circular object

They'll find a large circular object, a few meters in diameter, with a central section that rotates and has a dozen or so symbols on it, and an outer section with indicators that can be locked in as symbols are rotated under them.

(alien, because Supreme Commander Thor would approve).

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I wonder if Dr Jackson was on site for this?

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Fortunately the DHD is currently being studied at Area 51.

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Trollface

How Thick?

How thick is: 3,700m of thick ice, compared to 3,700m of thin ice?

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Anonymous Coward

Just the same ... but it's safer to stand on.

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Joke

Good timing, at least.

I'm thankful it didn't occur to anyone to burrow through the ice until 30 years ago. Imagine our valiant 1950's scientists: "Say, why don't we just clear that ice out of the way with Safe Nuclear Power?"

Lucky us, Russia used Clean Coal Technology! (i.e. kerosene)

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