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 …
"“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,”
Lifeforms that will presumably be killed then when the oxygen levels drop by 20 times as we punch a hole through their roof.
The word used is "quantity", explicitly not "proportion". Does it mean that there is ten times as many megatonnes of oxygen down there as everywhere else on the planet? That's absurd, so I assume the spokesbeing intended to say "proportion of oxygen there...". Then we have to understand what *that* might mean. Is it just that, due to the low temperature and high pressure, we expect dissolved oxygen levels (mg per litre) to be up to twenty times higher?
For many lifeforms, humans included, high levels of oxygen are harmful. It doesn't seem to me that lots of oxygen would contribute to biodiversity.
It could easily poison some organisms in there. Still, knowing russians they'll fuck it up somehow and pollute the water with freon and kerosene. I doubt they much care whats in the lake, they just want to be able to boast that they did it first, wave their flag and get a pat on the back from Dictator Putin.
... and if the Yanks had done it they'd have cut corners left, right and centre and fucked it up with a totally cavalier attitude until they've thrown enough resources to get a diver down there and see how it can be exploited (plant their own flag and get a pat on the back).
The Brits of course haven't managed it, we probably debated it and complained about the weather a lot (brrr, it's a bit parky out) but once everyone else has managed huge amount of exploration in these remote sub-glacial lakes we'll probably send down a dustbin with some old PCB on-board which we'll promptly manage to lose.
Have with finished with the national stereotyping yet?
How do you know? This might be exactly what Russians think of both the Americans and British. BTW, was it the Russians to pollute the Great Lakes of North America? You still can't take a swim in the Lake Erie. And the Russians certainly killed off most of the Wild life in Western Europe during the cold war (another well known Putin's decree.)
Hmm. [citation required] I think. Here in England I've still got spiders in my garden shed, and hedgehogs and blackbirds in the garden. I regularly see wildfowl, and ants, and butterflies, not to mention large swathes of forest and non-cultivated grassland. Maybe they just *told* Mr Putin that they'd destroyed Western Europe's wildlife. Alas, and fatally for your theory, Vladimir Putin did not become Russian premier until 1999, a long time after the end of the Cold War.
Since we're stereotyping I'm gonna chip in too...
To be honest it wouldn't surprise me if the US would plant several explosives and eventually blow the entire thing open, beats the time of drilling after all....
Back to reality; I think you're giving the Russians way too little credit than they deserve. "Dictator Putin"? While I agree that their life style doesn't match our ideas of freedom I'm pretty confident than most Russians enjoy more freedom than your average Iraqi in the current "liberated" Iraq.
I just had to watch "The Thing", yesterday night., btw, Italian newspapers report suspicions of a 105 by 75 KILOMETERS "extremely powerful" magnetic anomaly (1000 nanoTesla) in the SW edge of the lake. Maybe a "cylindrical or circular" metallic object.
So, it's either The Thing, or a Linguafoeda Acheronsis, or a Predator ship, or the lost city of Leng where the Old Ones dropped from between the angles of space.
In any case, I'm bolting down windows and doors.
Everyone should know they just found the Antarctic Stargate!
You would figure a device capable of using superconductors to generate a wormhole through space (and time if you get too close to a solar flare) would create a pretty big magnetic anomaly.
*Coat: I got my BDU, now just need my P90
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
I am mystified why no one has questioned the lack of important technical details about this effort. For instance, just how big is this bore hole? It took them twenty years (OK, a few years of waiting for international approval) and now they are talking about exploring with a submersible. I sincerely doubt the hole is that big. It could take decades to drill a bigger hole, if anyone really thinks a submersible could be operated reliably while exposed to such extremely high pressures of oxygen.
In many ways, this almost sounds like a "let's just say we did it and go home for the winter" story.
Yes, it could be Ceiling Cat's bathing area.
Though the thought of what Mulder and Scully investigated in the episode "Ice", is pretty scary.
Then again, it could reveal an organisim that can take over and imitate a host body, and imitate it perfectly. So long as we have Kurt Russell on hand we should be ok.
Or maybe they find a bunch of shiteating space-weevils, that Morgan Freeman will blow to kingdom-come.
Or perhaps they discover a delicious mysterious goo that they market as yummy dessert, but which turns eveyone into mindless zombies. But at least it's low calorie and tasty.
It could even releave an ancient pyramid, build by man, infected with Aliens and played on by Predators. So long as we have Lance Henriksen on hand we should be ok.
I remember this lake on Blue Planet, they used a bullet camera which melted the ice, displaced water and moved slowly enough that the water refroze to keep the eco system seperated.
where did that data go?
why drill with kerosene if we know how to do it in a controlled fashion?
My first thought on reading this was that our American neighhbours would be sure that the Ruskies are drilling for, and will find, oil. What else could this be about?
Berkeley Breathed has already beaten me to the punchline, but I think it's time to bring liberty to Antarctica.