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Will Exploration Threaten Antarctic’s 15-Million Year Old Lake?

June 25, 2008
clipped from

Lake Vostok is an international treasure. We have to convince not just the
scientific community but the entire world that we can do this without
contaminating the lake
Because of the long isolation, it’s believed that Lake Vostok could contain new
lifeforms, and unique geochemical processes
The overlying ice provides a continuous paleo-climatic record of 400,000 years,
although the lake water itself may have been isolated for as long as 15 million

NASA has expressed interest in exploring the lake to search for microbes that
might be similar to ones on other planets. How the bacteria get energy to
survive is an important unanswered question. The lake could be an analog to
Jupiter’s moon Europa or subsurface where conditions are similar
The original Russian Vostok station sits over the south end of the lake at the
precise geomagnetic South Pole, surrounded by decades’ worth of discarded
machinery, waste and rubbish.
No other natural lake environment on Earth has this much oxygen
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