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Russian team prepares to penetrate Lake Vostok

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posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 12:35 PM
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There have been a few threads on Lake Vostok here on ATS over the years. It is a lake in Antarctica that has been sealed deep under the ice for the past 14 million years.

For years the Russians have been drilling through the ice in an off and on basis. They would drill, only to run afoul of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (heh - its acronym is ATS) and stop. Now they have finally satisfied everyone and are about to break through the ice and into the lake.

Russian team prepares to penetrate Lake Vostok


The drill bit currently sits less than 100 metres above the lake. Once it reaches 20-30 metres, the mechanical drill bit will be replaced with a thermal lance that's equipped with a camera. Time is short, however. It's possible that the drillers won't be able to reach the water before the end of the current Antarctic summer, and they'll need to wait another year before the process can continue.


The hope is that what ever is found there will shed new light onto the question of life in extreme environments. Whatever is in the lake has evolved in isolation for the past 14million years.

Additional article on it here...

Mysteries of Lake Vostok on brink of discovery

Literally, nobody knows what may be down there.



edit on 8-1-2011 by Frogs because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 12:47 PM
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reply to post by Frogs
 


It's probably full of prehistoric beer cans and fishing bait containers. In all seriousness hopefully they don't discover some prehistoric virus that we have no immunity to causing some horrible pandemic.



posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 01:18 PM
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I just hope before they do hit the water, they switch the drill over to a proper one. Apparently they have been drilling with old oil drilling rigs, where they are supposed to be using some sort of 'hot water drill' that will not contaminate the water and ice as they drill. Apparently there has been quite the argument between Russian and American scientists down there over this issue... I Am friends with one of the maintenance technicians on one of the American research aircraft that are down there and this just came up as a bit of 'shop talk' the one day a few months ago.

But on a lighter note, I hope the discover something wonderful and interesting that can help us understand better the origin, and evolution of life on earth. Even if there is nothing 'alive' in that water, the chemistry of it should prove interesting...


Edit:
Guess I should have read the article first; they are going to use some 'thermal' drill head, but I do still know they have had quite the argument down there over this issue so it is still kind of relevant...
edit on 8-1-2011 by jta79 because: Additional Info



posted on Jan, 8 2011 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by jta79
 


Yes, that's a good point. The fear of polluting the lake is what held them up for so long. Well - let me be more clear on that. It didn't hold the Russians up - but it caused concern for the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. The ATS then held up the Russian drilling effort. I think the Russians would have been quite happy to drill with whatever they could.

But, the Russians have apparently now satisfied the ATS that they will not pollute the lake and have been given the go-ahead.

Apparently they are going to let some of the lake water flow up into the hole, let it freeze and then take a sample of the frozen lake water for a starter.


The AARI's Valery Lukin says they have devised a clever method for sampling the lake without contaminating it. "Once the lake is reached, the water pressure will push the working body and the drilling fluid upwards in the borehole, and then freeze again," Lukin says. The following season, the team will go back to bore in that frozen water, take the sample out and analyse its contents.



posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 03:57 PM
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Your right on that, not much does hold back the russians from anything...

"You have problem? Give me vodka and bigger hammer... I will fix..."



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