They find life in the deepest and most unexplored lake in Antarctica – 01/01/2012


Lake Mercer tends to experience temperatures below 0 ° but does not freeze. This is the large subglacial area – just three times the surface of the Juzhui surface – to get a deep surface surface that holds it and keeps it more than 100,000 years ago. In this place, a team of experts has just found different ways of life. It is a scientific fact that almost does not register for adolescents.

The descent into the depths of this lake is planned for years. The operation cost $ 5.2 million and has been passed through the North American organization Salsa (in Spanish, Scientific Access to the Subglacial Lakes of Antarctica), with the support of the United States National Science Foundation.

The experts believe that they are going to reveal only unicellular microbes. However, his outstanding results were: Against all lines, they ran into 10,000 bacteria cells per million of water. And they even leave the remains of crustaceans, thirds or aquatic bears – known for resisting extreme temperatures and high pressures – some plants and fungi.

Antarctica contains more than 400 lakes hidden under its whiteness. The Mercer was the second to be addressed by humans directly and is part of nine continents in the continent's western sector, discovered satellite in 2006.

Its water is sweet, though possibly millions of years ago, it was in contact with the sea. These conditions are so inhospitable, though They resemble that of Mars and Moons of Jupiter or Saturn subglacial oceans. Therefore, exploration of the corner of the planet can give clues about the biosphere in other places in the galaxy.

Antarctica, they are living deep in Lake Mercer. SALSA EXPEDITION PHOTO

Antarctica, they are living deep in Lake Mercer. SALSA EXPEDITION PHOTO

On December 26, the exploration finally left the US. There. Base macaroons. A caravan of excavators, tractors and containers installed on sleds traveled 1,046 km, To lie in a camp 600 km from the South Pole.

Fifty people – including scientists, mountaineers, soldiers and drillers – are part of this unique trip. Some of the crew traveled by air and landed on trucks built by bulldozers. The journey lasted for weeks, so it is necessary to have a heating system, bathroom and kitchen, where you can even cook bread. "It is a dream of a scientist, every day is a party and every meal a banquet," says a microbiologist from the University of Montana, who is there.

Antarctica, they are living deep in Lake Mercer. SALSA EXPEDITION PHOTO

Antarctica, they are living deep in Lake Mercer. SALSA EXPEDITION PHOTO

A radar vehicle – to avoid cracking – guide the entourage. On December 27, the Expedition members reached the lake's surface. They have many precautions to avoid contaminating the environment and using a robot capable of taking pictures and extracting samples. In total, 500 tons of equipment are used to build the 1,068 meters and 28,000 kilograms of ice that protect the mercer.

According to scholars, the organisms collected would have inhabited lakes and streams in the mountains of Antarctica in warm periods when the glaciers crumbled, probably in the last 10,000 or 120,000 years. When the weather cooled again, later the ice surely engulfed that oasis of life again.

The consequences of the finding are enormous. On the one hand, it allows you to know more about the Antarctic hydrological system and, hence, the historical movement of the glaciers. In turn, it provides clues about the future effects of global warming. But that's not all. According to John Prisku, the main student of the campaign, "the door can open up to know what is essential for life, beyond our world, for example, on the red planet or under the ice of Saturn Moons, which has not been so different. Environments. "

It still remains for scientists to study the DNA sequences of these creatures and date the material with carbon. What is certain is that the research at Lake Mercer opened a door to learn more about the Earth and the planets that surround us.

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