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Antarctic Ice

Breaking the Antarctic Ice for Answers

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Scientists have finally conquered a great feat in science and engineering by drilling a 800 meter hole in the Antarctic ice strip to make it through to the sub-glacial lake and successfully collect sediment samples that had been in contact with the Earth’s troposphere for many thousands of years. This Research Drilling project , WISSARD, made a statement in January that they had used a hot water drill to acquire sediment samples of the sub glacial Lake Whillans.

The main reason for the collection of sediment samples is to help scientists to understand the adaptation of life forms in extreme conditions.  By studying what life can exist in the extreme conditions of Earth, this may provide vital information about what life could exist in the extreme conditions of outer space. Using satellite sensors and floating mapping technologies, a vast ice sheet covering 95 percent of the Antarctic continent was discovered. A smaller lake, with intact samples of water and sediments, was identified by the WISSARD group of American universities and two global contributors.

The water and sediment samples collected by the WISSARD team are under process and could be the answer to questions not only about the function of sub glacial microbial life, characterization of the lake sheet, contemporary ice-sheet dynamics and climate history, but also about the possibility of life existing outside our planet.

By April Holloway

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