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Earth NASA Science

Complex Life Found Under 600 Feet of Antarctic Ice 237

Posted by timothy
from the planted-by-von-braun-in-1967 dept.
Chroniton writes "NASA ice scientists have found a shrimp-like creature and a possible jellyfish 'frolicking' beneath 600 feet of solid Antarctic ice, where only microbes were expected to live. The odds of finding two complex lifeforms after drilling only an 8-inch-wide hole suggests there may be much more. And if such life is possible beneath Earth's oceans, why not elsewhere, like Europa?"
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Complex Life Found Under 600 Feet of Antarctic Ice

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  • Oceans too (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:33PM (#31515668) Journal

    60% of the Earth is filled with oceans. In some parts they go down as much as Mount Everest goes up. That means over half of our planet is still not searched. Some of the found fishes in there are really weird as well and look like aliens.

    Imagine the land amount all those oceans would free if tried up.

  • Re:only problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:49PM (#31515902)
    Of course this is just speculation. However, this broadens the range of environments where we know that complex life, and even self sustaining ecosystems can exist. And that is the true purpose of the Drake equation. Not giving us a probability for life elsewhere, but rather defining the parameter envelope we think is able to sustain life. Every discovery of more extreme ecosystems broadens that envelope - and that is interesting in itself. Now let's get our arse to Europa and Drill, Baby, Drill!
  • Re:Oceans too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:51PM (#31515926) Homepage

    > Imagine the land amount all those oceans would free if dried up.

    Imagine all the land that would become uninhabitable if the oceans dried up.

  • Re:only problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:54PM (#31515978)

    If you're going to point out that Europa is different from Antartica at least take the time to point out how it's different. Namely, the complex life in Antarctica evolved in different, more comfortable conditions. Complex life under hundreds of feet of ice on Earth says nothing about whether or not it's possible for life to begin or become complex in those conditions. It just says that once started, life is very adaptable.

  • Plato on the moon? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:02PM (#31516086) Journal

    We know that humans have traveled to the moon. Humans similar in biological content to the famous greek philosopher Plato. So, is it possible that Plato traveled to the Moon?

    Plato was a smart guy, but he couldn't have landed on the moon. Landing on the moon required us to adapt well enough to a very hospitable environment before we could even reach the moon's harsh landscape. I think We might discover the same is true of life. Its more likely to develop in a very hospitable environment and then over time develop the skills necissiary to thrive in harsher climates. I do think we might be able to transplant our extreme lifeforms to other planets. In the same way a lunar rover would probably do okay on the surface of mars as well.

  • Europa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schnitzi (243781) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:03PM (#31516114) Homepage

    >And if such life is possible beneath Earth's oceans, why not elsewhere, like Europa?

    Because saying life can survive somewhere is different than saying it can evolve somewhere.

  • Re:Oceans too (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arimus (198136) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:04PM (#31516132)

    "Some of the found fishes in there are really weird as well and look like aliens."

    How many aliens have you seen to confirm that the fish look like them?

  • Re:Why NASA? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:19PM (#31516308)

    Why is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration looking underneath Antartican Ice?

    Are you seriously asking why NASA would be studying life in extreme hostile environments?

  • by amirulbahr (1216502) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @07:47PM (#31517144)
    I think you are confusing skills acquired with biological adaptations.
  • Re:Oceans too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @08:11PM (#31517360) Journal

    It will happen. The Earth will, barring some major perturbation of its orbit, become a dry, desolate world as the sun ages and expands. The water will not boil off, but will instead simply evaporate. As the water circulates to the upper atmosphere, it will be subject to reactions that break it apart into hydrogen and oxygen, and the hydrogen will simply fly off into space, too light to be held by the Earth's gravity. The oxygen will remain, but with little hydrogen to bind it, there will be less and less water over time.

  • Re:Oceans too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @09:06PM (#31517772)

    The water will not boil off, but will instead simply evaporate.

    Personally, I think it will neither boil off, nor evaporate. I predict it will turn into a gas.

  • Re:Oceans too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @10:45PM (#31518420)

    Doubtful.

    It might become uninhabitable to the existing life forms that live there, but you utterly failed to get the point of this discovery.

    Life exists in lots of places and ways that we thought weren't possible.

    Its really silly to much such an absolute statement as yours. If the oceans 'dried up' whatever that actually means then life may die out, but its more likely it would continue on in another form. Just like the life 30k under the surface of the ocean in volcanic vents, 600 feet down in ice, or high altitude lakes that would kill anything you would be able to recognize right off the start as life without a microscope.

    We know life changes, species come, evolve, and die out, but observation of the past tells us that regardless of what extreme situation happens to the planet, some life form somewhere survives and carries on to repopulate based on the new environment.

    Really, from a scientific perspective, we have as much evidence that life on earth can cease to exist as we have evidence that gravity can be turned off. We've never observed either of those situations directly, but I agree life on Earth ceasing to exist is entirely possible.

    I also think you have a lack of appreciate for life's ability to survive thanks to its diversity. We nor anything else is going to 'destroy life on Earth' at any point in time that we're going to find relevant.

    Human life or life as we know it may end, something will carry on and evolve to survive.

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