Russian scientists have reached the surface of a gigantic freshwater lake in Antarctica that had been hidden under miles of ice for 20 million years, potentially holding life from the distant past and a clue to the search for life on other planets. Scientists hope to find primeval bacteria that could expand the human knowledge of the origins of life.
Lake Vostok, about 2.4 miles beneath the surface, is the largest in a web of nearly 400 known sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica The lake is 250 160 miles long and 30 miles across at its widest point, similar in area to Lake Ontario. Scientists believe that microbial life may exist in the dark depths of the lake despite high pressure and constant cold — conditions similar to those expected to be found under ice crust on Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.
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