Saturday, October 15, 2011

The world under the ice

Scientists are planning an new expedition to Antarctica to set up a drilling rig that will use hot water to melt its way through ice. A lot of ice.
Starting next November, the team will meal a borehole 36cm wide through 3,000m of ice to an ancient lake that apparently stays liquid thanks to geothermal heat. They expect to find single-celled life forms that will tell us a great deal about the time, a half mission years in the past, when the lake was "trapped" under ice. A huge uncertainly is how to handle the enormous pressure the water has built up - as much as 2,700 atmospheres. The drilling equipment and hose had to be custom-built for the task. and the researchers will endure brutal conditions to carry out the task.
COMMENT: Yes, there is still adventure in science. More than most people could handle.

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