Scientists searching for alien life hope research into an Antarctic lake that has spent the past 14 million years buried under 12,365 feet of ice could hold some clues.
A Russian research team is digging into the subterranean Lake Vostok right now, and though no one reasonably expects to find anything alien there, they hope the unique environment may be the key to understanding how extraterrestrial life could have potentially evolved around the solar system.
Researchers believe the layout could be the closest we can get to the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter, where scientists predict similar underground lakes and oceans could exist. The Antarctic lake was actually created by the thick ice on top, which helps trap the heat from the Earth's core to keep the water in between from freezing.
"If they find evidence of life there—and I do think Lake Vostok has life in it—it's going to be Earth-like," SETI astrobiologist Dale Andersen said, as reported by Fox News. "It's going to be the same kind of life you find everywhere else. It may be that life has evolved differently, but it's still Earth-like, still based on the same DNA structure."
Regardless, Andersen said the experience we will gain from exploring the site will be invaluable as we prepare to do further research in the colder parts of the solar system.
"The real value is that it helps us learn how to explore these kinds of environments better," he said. "It opens up your imagination for how to explore these kinds of environments, whether it's on Earth or [Jupiter's moon] Europa."
Oh well, at least it's not a Norwegian crew out there exploring—or else we could have much bigger problems.
(via Fox News).